Wednesday, November 2 marked the first official practice of the year for the LRHS gymnastics team. The girls gathered at Gym Carolina, a gym conveniently located off of Leesville Road.
Leesville’s gymnastics team is not very well known, but they are an official Cap-8 team.
“I think what separates us from a regular school team is that our coach does not have to be a teacher at Leesville, and we do not practice at the school because Leesville does not have a proper training facility,” said Cami Burns, senior and four-year letterman on the team.
The team also does not practice everyday like most other teams. They meet on Mondays and Wednesdays for an hour to an hour and a half. They have five meets a season, which take place on Friday nights.
“Practices normally go like this: right after school we all head to Gym Carolina. We change into our gymnastics attire and stretch until our coach arrives,” added Burns.
The gymnasts then pick an event and practice it.
“Normally practices are pretty self-run, our coach helps us if we need it,” said Burns.
Gymnastics has four main events: bars, vault, beam and floor.
Bars is a tricky event in which two wooden bars are set up parallel to eachother, the first one about 4 feet off the ground and the second about seven feet. The gymnasts swing precariously between the two, with the ultimate trick being a giant where the athlete takes a huge swing around the high bar holding on with just her hands.
Vault is where the gymnast sprints towards a springboard onto a piece of apparatus called the table, a slightly-inclined, metal piece of equipment with a padded and springy cover. Flips and tricks are performed in the air until the gymnast lands on a mat.
The beam is a challenge of balance: the Gymnasts show off routines involved back handsprings, front flips and back flips on a padded length of metal about 5 inches wide. Their routine begins with a perfect mount and end with a dismount.
Floor is where the athlete demonstrates the hardest stunts they can in a choreographed routine. Routines can include a back layout with a full twist, in which the gymnast does a back flip with their body open and rotates 360 degrees around simultaneously.
“Only five people can compete from each event, so you pick your favorites, and our coach makes the final decision,” said Burns.
Burns competes in beam and floor.
As for the outlook for the season, the team is more concerned about enjoying themselves than bringing home trophies.
“We will have a lot of fun, despite our scores. I’m excited for the upcoming year,” concluded Burns.