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Local gymnastics teams work on improving

Northwestern, Western gain extra meet this season

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PERFECT 40 — (Left to right) Members of the Northwestern gymnastics squad pose with their first place trophy after the Western Invitational. Members of the Western gymnastics team take a team photo.

The Northwestern and Western gymnastics teams began their seasons back in mid-December with an early, first-time meet and since have been working on improving.

Both teams attended the new “pairs” competition at Logansport, with Northwestern placing second and Western placing fourth. This gave the gymnasts more of a “head start” on their seasons, which typically start in mid-January.

Northwestern Head Coach Ashley Miller said the early start on the season was beneficial to the Lady Tigers.

“I was very glad that [Logansport] offered that for us because I think that’s great to get the girls out there early before our first ‘real’ meet, I should say. So, it was a very fun way to open up the season and start that way,” Miller said.

On the other hand, Western Head Coach Kelly Myers’ team had a different experience for the start of the season. She said the start was rough for the Lady Panthers due to her transition as the new head coach, as well as some of the team overcoming sicknesses and injuries.

“We had a rough start … [The most challenging part was] probably keeping people not injured and healthy because gymnastics season is also in flu season. So, we’ve had a rough time with that, but they’re pretty good at adjusting,” Myers said.

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The Northwestern team had a total of five girls on the team: seniors Raegan Robb and Ashtyn Gross, juniors Catie Smith and Mollie Habig, and freshman Anna Perry. However, Perry is currently not competing due to an injury, Miller said. Robb never has participated in gymnastics before, so she only competed in vaulting. The other three girls all competed in all four events.

The Western team had six girls on the team: seniors Lavi Steffens and Katie Devine, juniors Anna Grobengieser and Jenna Hulka, sophomore Jessica Devine, and freshman Caty Bupp. In the preseason, the girls worked on skills needed for the season during practices, but now that the gymnasts are in season, they're focusing on routines and polishing techniques for the upcoming meet, Myers said.

Both coaches said all the girls on their teams have gained new skills or improved on already-acquired skills this season.

“They’re (Northwestern) all working really hard, and they ask all the time, ‘What can I do to make my routine better?’ and things like that because they like to win. They are very competitive just like their coach. We’re all in this together,” Miller said.

Myers said the Western gymnasts also have been working on gaining and perfecting new skills.

“They’ve (Western) all gotten new skills that they’ve been wanting to work on. So, that’s good. They’ve actually been scoring pretty good all-around in every event. So, overall they’ve improved a lot from last year,” Myers said.

Western will compete at Logansport again this Saturday, Feb. 15, at 10 a.m. Northwestern will compete at the Connersville Invitational this Saturday, Feb. 15, at 11 a.m.