Women’s gymnastics resets for new season
Bobby Martinez – Sports Writer
Heading into the 2015 season, the Owls gymnastics team will have a total of eight returning gymnasts who competed in last years United States of America Gymnastics Nationals Competition in Providence, RI.
Owls head coach Jerry Nelson, said looking back at last season, one aspect he wants his team to work on this season, is to be much more consistent in each event.
“We put six athletes up per event,” said Nelson during a team practice prior to their home opener. “Our goal is try to hit six for six in each of the four events. If we can do that, at least we’re not giving away anything. If we can make it to nationals as a team, then we did it. If we don’t, then at least we can say that we gave it our all. But six for six in four events, that’s our goal.”
Nelson said he will be looking at those eight returning gymnasts to help the team win as much events possible. The eight returning gymnasts include: juniors Meghan Cole, Jenny Kaufman, Samantha Menichini and Chelcie Rosborough, sophomores Rachel de la Torre, Nicole Pruchnik and Jennifer Rochefort and freshman Rotem Porat.
“Last year we had a record of 10 individuals qualify for nationals last year,” said Nelson. “ Of that group, we have eight of them back. So I’m going to be looking at them to help this team out as much as they can.”
Kaufman, whose nationals experience last season was her first ever as an Owl, said the entire experience was breathtaking and as a gymnast, she now knows what it takes to get back to nationals again this season.
“It was a huge, but fun experience,” said Kaufman. “ I wish we made it as a team because I could see how fun it would’ve been with the entire team. As an individual last season, it was one of my goals to make it to nationals.”
Kaufman added, “My freshman year I only did one event. Heading into my sophomore year I did sometimes three, but mostly two. And those are the two I made it to nationals with which was the vault and floor exercise. Heading into this season, its just more motivating to try and go back again.”
However, Kaufman knows it won’t be easy this season in trying to make it back to nationals. During the off-season, Kaufman spent most of her time by working out, perfecting her skills and eating healthier.
As for the Owls first competition, which was against Springfield College Pride Jan. 9., Pruchnik helped the Owls defeat the Pride with a team score of 188.625 against the Pride’s 183.525. Pruchnik secured two first place finishes on the beam and floor exercise.
Senior Taylor Rohrbaugh, said the teams overall goal is just like any other teams goal: make it to nationals and win.
“Our ultimate goal,” said Rohrbaugh, “is to definitely make nationals this season. We have the strongest team I’ve ever seen in my four years that I been here. All we have to do is stay positive and stay motivated which I think we can all see our ultimate goal which is nationals.”
Rohrbaugh continued by saying, “My ultimate goal is to continue working hard and doing the best I can by staying positive in the gym which is relative to helping my teammates.”
Rohrbaugh said the key in having a good season is to work hard in the off season and try to prevent any injuries possible while at the same time seeing the team’s ultimate goal at the end. She said once you lose sight of all these factors, it’s really hard to stay focused.