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Green gymnastics team planning to make up for lost time

1/16/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

GREEN — The first competition of the season for the Green High School gymnastics team will take place Jan. 18 at 3:10 p.m., and first-year head coach Tiko Gviniashvili said her team has been working hard to prepare for the event.

“It’s a high school invitational at the North Canton YMCA,” Gviniashvili said. “There will be competitions in all four events [vault, bars, beam and floor], and they will give out awards to the gymnasts who do well.”

Making the challenge of preparing for such an event even more difficult, Gviniashvili said, is the fact that she only took over the team Dec. 16.

“We started practicing right in the middle of December,” she noted. “We were supposed to practice before that, but the [previous] coach had suddenly quit because she had other obligations.”

There are four gymnasts on this year’s team: freshman Kaitlyn Hawkins, sophomores Raina Rotondo and Madison Lake and senior Shelby Luzader.

“Shelby is very determined and really listens, and I think people may be surprised by Kaitlyn this year since she is a very good gymnast and this is her first high school season,” the coach said. “I actually think they all have the potential to do well. I just wish we had more time to practice before our first competition, because we will only have been practicing for about a month, and the other teams will have practiced for a lot longer than that.”

According to Gviniashvili, making up for that lost time has been a challenge.

“I just really try to push them to work hard during practices before the competition,” she said. “I’m working on getting them to really focus on doing multiple routines on each event.”

The team practices three days a week for two and a half hours per day, Gviniashvili said.

“I try to get in all of the events in each practice, but sometimes we may not have time to do that and can only get to two or three events,” she stated. “Right now, I feel like we are the best on floor exercise as a team. Individually, I feel that some of the gymnasts might prefer a different event as their strongest, but overall, as a team, I think floor is our best. And I would probably say bars is our weakest event right now. Bars can be hard for anyone, and with the short amount of time that we’ve had, it can be even harder to learn.”

Gviniashvili said she has been excited about the amount of progress the four gymnasts have made in a relatively short amount of time.

“I was not even expecting this much improvement in this short amount of time,” she stated. “Most of them learned some new skills that they had never even attempted before, which is awesome. And the skills they had before, they are doing much better on technique-wise and they are looking better.”

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