The Waterbury Record caught up with Tanya Cheney, head coach of the Harwood Union gymnastics team, to see how the season is going.
Q: How was turnout this year?
This year we have a total of seven gymnasts; this is up from last year, where we only had three. Freshman, Olivia Bloom. Sophomores, Sieanna Forkey, Hannah Ladieu. Juniors, Alyson Bryant, Emily Bryant, Delana Cheney, Lynn Russell.
Q: Returning athletes you expect to play big roles?
There are only two returning gymnasts; the other five are new to the team. Our captains, Lynn Russell and Delana Cheney, are the only returning members of the team. They both compete in all four events — vault, bars, beam and floor — which makes them all-around athletes.
Delana and Lynn are both strong on vault, beam and floor. The team takes their scores from all four events toward the team score. In gymnastics, the team score is made up of the four highest scores of the gymnasts in each event. Each team is allowed to put up to six gymnasts per event.
Q: Newcomers you expect to step up?
Alyson and Emily Bryant have both returned to gymnastics this year after taking a few years off to try another winter sport. We are excited to have them both back in the gym. They join Delana and Lynn as all-around gymnasts. Emily is strong on vault and beam. Alyson is strong on bars and floor. Hannah is competing in vault, bars and floor. Olivia is competing on beam and floor while Sieanna competes in beam. All of the girls are working on new skills to increase their start values.
Q: What are some team strengths?
The team is strong on three out of four events. We have several girls who are strong on vault, beam and floor. Delana and Emily have the maximum start value on beam. Five of the seven girls compete in vault and consistently score well on this event. Floor is another strong event for Harwood gymnasts.
Q: What events do you hope to see improvement in?
Bars is the event that we are currently struggling with. This event requires a lot of upper-body and core strength. The girls are all working on achieving new skills to increase their start values. We hope to get our scores up to the mid-sevens by the end of the season. We are currently scoring in the mid-sixes.
Q: Big meets coming up?
Our first two meets of the season were against the top two teams in the state, Champlain Valley Union and Essex.
We headed into the meet against state champion Essex (on Dec. 28) with a goal to achieve a team score of 108. The girls worked hard and blew this goal away with a team score of 115.6. Delana Cheney finished third in the all-around with a 31.7, followed by Emily Bryant and Lynn Russell.
We are looking forward to our meets against South Burlington, Milton, Middlebury, Randolph and Montpelier. These meets should be good to watch because the teams are closely matched.