As a new season approaches, Scotch Plains-Fanwood gymnastics prepares for another successful year. Although gymnastics is ultimately an individual sport, the high spirits and encouragement that comes from each team member essentially makes it a group effort.
“I would say one thing I really like about high school gymnastics is that when I do it competitively at my own club team, it is very individual,” senior captain Kristy Cerini said. “But we are definitely…more of a team sport than an individual sport because everyone is always cheering each other on.”
Senior Sara Banasiak, also a captain, agreed: “We’re very good at being there for each other and trying to make sure that everyone knows that it’s okay if they fall, they just get back up and that we’ll still be supporting them no matter what.”
So far, the team’s camaraderie is helping to give a strong start to the season. The Raiders are currently 4-3, and they hope to continue the hot streak. They’ve competed against several strong rivals, including Westfield High School and Arthur L. Johnson High School.
“So we’re really looking forward to trying to beat Westfield and ALJ, and maybe score second or first place at Counties and the Cougar tournaments,” Cerini added.
Tournaments in general are important for the gymnastics team. “My…goal for the season is to qualify as many girls as I can for the State Sectional Tournament,” coach Lisa Cerchio said. “The girls have been working hard at practice, although we are facing a very competitive conference this year with Cranford and Westfield.”
“We can come together as a whole team and our team score can be a lot higher because there’s good girls on each event,” Banasiak said.
As a captain, she also hopes to motivate the rest of the team and qualify for sectionals.
The season is looking bright for the girls as their team dynamic and individual talent drives them towards success. They will compete against Union Catholic next, on Oct. 11.
Athlete Spotlight: Kristy Cerini, senior
What are your goals for this year?
We have a lot of new girls this year, probably like the most that we’ve ever had since I’ve been on the team, so we’re looking forward to kind of rotating our lineup and get everybody in and just to do really well and beat the teams we’ve been losing to in the past.
As a captain, what do you hope for for the newer gymnasts?
I hope that they have a good experience on the team. We really try to get everybody pumped up and get everyone involved; we want to make sure they feel included, and that they come back next year.
How is the team dynamic so far?
I would say this year, so far, so good. I think we get along better; we’re a lot closer than some of the past years. Everyone’s always cheering and being loud for their teammates, so we’re doing pretty well.
What are your strengths as a team? It’s a very individual sport, but what do you have as a team versus individually?
I would say one thing I really like about high school gymnastics is that when I do it like competitively at my own club team, it is very individual, but we are definitely – I consider us more of a team sport than an individual sport because everyone is always cheering each other on. And I would say we’re a close knit team, everybody loves each other, and we’re very welcoming and I think that makes us a really cohesive unit.
How’re you doing, coming off of an injury last year?
I’ve been through the wringer with injuries. I recently just really sprained my back, but i’ve been out since April, so I just came back at the start of the season. So I’m taking it nice and slow. I’m eager to get back in the swing of things, and I just make sure that I know my limits and everything. It’s been hard getting back, I’ve definitely had to take it slower than I want to, but I’m really excited to kind of recover from that slowly.