Gymnastics team takes 3rd place in counties

Luke Liden

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Photo by Sanir Byanjankar

Senior captain Julia Beato performs a front handspring during the vault event. While the Wildcats finished in 3rd place, the whole team gave it their all and had a fantastic last meet.

WJ gymnastics has consistently been a top team in the county for years now, and coming into this season they were set on maintaining their illustrious reputation. With a new coaching staff consisting of two WJ alumni, Haley Karp and Julia Manolo, the only three seniors (the team captains) held more responsibility in molding the team and really stepped into their own as leaders.

“It was exciting to be able to be captain this year and also a great experience to be able to work with new coaches who brought fresh ideas to the program,” senior captain Julia Beato said.

Paired with the stresses of competition at meets, the team has to set up each event in the gym beforehand along with cleaning the gym up afterwards. After the strenuous setting up of the gym, the 7 starters for each event hit the mats.

“It’s a little much that we have to set up and clean everything by ourselves, it can be pretty tiring,” junior Yness Seidaly said.

The Wildcats performed well throughout the regular season, finishing with a winning record of 4-2. They defeated Sherwood, Blake, Blair and Springbrook handily with strong performances from the teams highest scoring gymnasts, juniors Sydney Akpebu and Enia Daganese, but came up short against rivals BCC and Whitman.

Following a regular season that didn’t meet the WJ gymnastics standard, the team of 25 girls went into the County Championship with their eyes set on the prize. Unfortunately the Wildcats finished in 3rd place, 1 point behind BCC and 20 points behind Whitman. An extremely strong freshmen class of gymnasts at Whitman made them an almost unbeatable powerhouse this season.

“We had a good season but it was a little disappointing after winning counties my freshman and sophomore year. It was still a really, really fun season and 3rd place isn’t something to be too mad about,” senior captain Valeria Guillen said.

With the new coaches from this year likely to return next year, along with the teams top two scoring gymnasts, the team looks to take the leap back to their standard #1 spot in the county.

“I’m so excited for next season and we’re hoping to be county champs,” Daganese said.