Archive for Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Home crowd fuels gymnasts’ success

Boys start season strong with seven All-Around finishers at Winter Cup

January 11, 2006

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The Lawrence Gymnastics Academy boy's team opened its season with a solid showing at its home meet on Saturday. Using the comfort of competing in its home gym, the level five through seven boys fared well at the Winter Cup meet.

Coach Maria Snyder, in her fourth year with the team, was pleased with their performance.

"The boys came through in a clutch position," Snyder said. "I was glad to see they followed my coaching from practice and really focused in on doing the little things they need to do to put them in a position to do well in their events."

All seven team members placed in the top five of the All-Around standings in their respective levels and age groups.

The usually annual meet returned after taking a year off to host the state meet. Hosting a meet is a big fundraising effort for the Academy and gym sponsors and parents are vital to its fundraising success.

Snyder said she saw the meet as a success for LGA.

"It is stressful to put on a meet," she said. "Preparation is an ongoing six-month process, but the parents are really helpful to volunteer in all areas to make the meet a success."

Charlie Arnold performs his pommel horse routine for the judge Saturday at the Winter Cup meet held at Lawrence Gymnastics Academy. Arnold used the home crowd to energize him to place second int he pommel horse, floor exercise, rings, parallel bars and All-Around.

Charlie Arnold performs his pommel horse routine for the judge Saturday at the Winter Cup meet held at Lawrence Gymnastics Academy. Arnold used the home crowd to energize him to place second int he pommel horse, floor exercise, rings, parallel bars and All-Around.

Snyder said the boys meet has quite a different atmosphere than the girls meet.

"Girls meets are high stress and more serious," Snyder said. "At the boys meet the judges and coaches want to emphasize having a good time, while doing their best. We don't want the boys to have to worry about the place they get, we just want them to compete hard."

The boys event rotation includes competing on the pommel horse and mushroom, vault, rings, floor exercise, high bar and parallel bars. Levels are based on years of experience, not age, and each level has certain requirements that go into the judging of a particular event.

Two other gyms, McCracken's Gymnastics Academy and Dave's Gymnastics Factory, competed against LGA in the meet, which also included level four competitors.

Since the Winter Cup was the first meet of the year for the team, Snyder found out what the boys really need to work on and improve upon to position themselves to compete with the rest of the state.

Snyder said the the one event that was weakest for her team overall is the pommel horse and mushroom.

Noel Fisher goes into a handstand position during his floor exercise routine Saturday at the Winter Cup meet. Fisher took first place in the floor exercise event.

Noel Fisher goes into a handstand position during his floor exercise routine Saturday at the Winter Cup meet. Fisher took first place in the floor exercise event.

"The pommel horse is a difficult event for all boys," Snyder said. "You could compare the pommel horse to the girl's balance beam in difficulty."

Overall Snyder said she is going to be nitpicky in many areas of all the events so the team can build on the foundation laid during the first meet of the year.

Over the past couple of years the boys team has been gaining recognition and improving. LGA alum Scott Bregman put the gym and team on the map for his performances as a team member and his subsequent success at the University of Michigan.

"Bregman set a precedent for the members of the boys team and gives them an idea of where they need to aim to achieve a similar success," Snyder said.

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