Leesville’s Most Underrated Sport

The 2015-2016 senior gymnasts doing handstands. This year, the team roster size has doubled, creating more awareness about the group. (Photo Courtesy of Parker Yount)

The gymnastics team is arguably the most underrated sports team at Leesville. With only seven members last year, not much news was to be heard about the team even though they ended with a solid fourth place finish in the CAP-8.

This year the team is welcoming many new faces. With only three seniors leading the team– Keara Glasgow, Sarah Christensen and Emma Douglass– the group is building up its base of freshmen. Four freshmen have been added to the team: Susan Conley, Maddie Hatfield, Abigail Jenkins and Jenna Christensen. The roster has grown to fourteen gymnasts, doubling the number from last year.

The gymnastics team meets twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays to train at Superior Gymnastics located past the RDU Airport. The Leesville gymnasts combine to train with Panther Creek’s team during the week. Coach Kari, Leesville’s coach, is going on her third season with the Pride.

Historically, the team has never used captains, but this season Coach Kari has implemented the position. Christensen and Glasgow are filling these spots to help lead the young team.

Both Kari and the team’s goals are to become closer-knit this season. “Our goal is just to bond more as a team. Last year was really easy because it was such a smaller number, but this year there are a lot more girls,” said Keara Glasgow, senior.

Besides the small team, the lack of talk could also be contributed to how little knowledge the student body knows about the sport of gymnastics.

High school gymnastics is very different in how it functions compared to other sports. There are only five meets held during the regular season. During an individual meet, there are roughly twenty or more schools from around North Carolina competing. This season, the meets will be held in different gyms in Raleigh, Morrisville, Apex, Smithfield and Fuquay.

At each meet, there are four events: bar, beam, vault and floor. Each event is scored out of ten points and deductions occur depending on the execution of form or missing aspects to the routine.

On each team there are all arounder gymnasts– those who compete in every event– and specialty gymnasts– those who compete in specific events. Every gymnast has the chance to compete for each event, and the top three scores from the team are counted by the judges for the specific event.

“The meets usually take around 4 hours because every single person has to go and then you have to rotate after everyone is done,” said Gabby Kistner, a junior.

The gymnastics team’s next meet is on January 8 at the Raleigh School of Gymnastics.


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