Gymnastics team maintains dynamic season

Jami Bechard | Staff Writer

Mason High School’s gymnastics team is undefeated going into the City Championships, according to Coach Kelly Wones. Wones said she is proud of the team and their success. The team has been able to prove themselves in the district.
“[Our success at our first four meets] has given [the girls] some much needed confidence,” Wones said. “They’ve seen that they can compete well; they’ve been able to see the other teams out there and know that they can hold their own against them. It’s good for them to know that they can go against tough competition and still come out on top. Yet, they still see that need to go back to the gym and work on some things.”

Senior captain Jenna Bookman said she is motivated by the team’s success, but she is aware that the team can’t let the wins hold them back.

“It’s really exciting and it’s motivating to try to keep our scores up and keep winning, but it’s also pushing us to work harder,” Bookman said. “We’re just watching to make sure we don’t get over confident or put off any bad impressions of our team.”

This year’s team is filled with many star athletes according to Wones, and the depth of high-level athleticism has resulted in success. The team consists of 17 girls that train every day of the week. Yet, Wones said she has to keep the girls’ workout schedule balanced to prevent injuries.

“Gymnastics is a sport with a lot of high impact, so we have to find a nice balance of getting enough rest in without getting too many rests in,” Wones said. “We’re finding that balance and trying to peak them at the right time. But, we try to spread [the training] out so we can keep them until the end of February [for our district meet].”

So far this season, the team has been able to compete in six meets so far. Now, the team will travel to compete at City Championships to try to qualify for the OHSAA District Tournament. But, the team’s ultimate goal is qualifying to compete at OHSAA State Tournament.

“The bottom line, as a team, is to qualify for states,” Wones said.

During the season, training and strength are critical, Wones said. With each meet, the team has been able to celebrate knowing that their hard work paid off, yet with more critical meets to come, the team has to stay in shape, according to Wones.

“They’re basically right where we want them right now,” Wones said. “They’re experiencing success and doing well, yet there is still lots of room for improvement for each individual on each event.”

Wones said that the key to the team’s success during the season is the hard work of the girls in the off-season.

“The girls that are returning from last year really worked hard in the off-season and that has made a huge difference,” Wones said. “That, to me, has been the key of why we’re ahead: the depth of the team, and that fact that so many of them work out in the off-season.”

In gymnastics the girls are separated by their skill levels, according to sophomore gymnast Jenna Bovenzi. The levels go from one to ten and ages three to 18. On the Mason gymnastics team, every girl is classified as a level eight. With six spots to fill and 17 girls on the team, many girls who aren’t at the level eight skill level never get to compete the entire season.

Within the team, there is tough competition to fill six spots out of 17 girls for big meets Wones said. In gymnastics the athletes compete as individuals, and then their individual scores are tallied up to compile a final team score, according to Wones.

“It’s an individual sport, [with] individual performances, but it’s a team,” Wones said. “The top four scores on each event constitute your team score. They really root for each other, but at the same time they’re competing against each other, so that can make it hard. We really strive to stress team first to them. The gymnastics team comes before any individual, that’s really our focus … It’s a fine balance of being able to focus on your own abilities and your own routines but yet contributing to the team, too.”

Mason’s gymnastics team has never qualified for states in the past, according to Wones. The girls have spent hours practicing and preparing for the state tournament. Their main goal is to progress to State in March for the first time in their team’s history.

“[Making it to states] would mean the world,” Bovenzi said. “I really think as long as we just focus hard, like we normally do and just work for it, I think we can do it.”

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