by Coach Miller-McEachern
Last year's season saw many individual successes with Julia Zimmerman, Sophia Harrison, and Sarah Trowbridge all qualifying to the NCGA National Championships in Whitewater, WI. Zimmerman's performance at the Division III Nationals crowned her the All Around and Beam National Champion and qualified her to the Division I Regional meet at Michigan University where she placed 11th in the All Around.
With so much to be proud of from the team last year, the 2008 group decided they wanted to build on these accomplishments and make sure the entire team shows up for the NCGA Championships in Cortland, NY this year!
With head coach, Jen Miller-McEachern's leadership, and her assistant, Eduardo Ovalle's motivation, this year's team should feel very prepared as the season takes shape. Under the coaches guidance, this good size team of 13 will take advantage of the many opportunities a team this size can provide. Making line up this year will be everyone's first challenge since as many as 4 girls could be competing to fill one spot. This is of paramount importance, as the program has never experienced this much depth. Although, the last time this team qualified to Nationals as a unit, they did it with 9 people.
Our two senior Captain's Sophia Harrison and Sarah Trowbridge were part of that group of 9 so their desire to repeat a team qualification to Nationals is constantly on their minds. Their leadership and experience is guaranteed to help this team reach its goal.
Our four freshmen are ready to start their first college gymnastics season. As with any group of freshman, after figuring out that you can fit gymnastics into such a rigorous academic schedule, things start to fall into place. Two solid level 10 gymnasts lead our newcomers from West Chester, PA - Twin's Becky and Beth Stavely. Determined to put their mark on this team they seem to be using the experience of the upper classmen as their guide. The local of the group, Kristen Watkins, from Sudbury, MA proves to be a contributor as well. Her routines on vault, beam, and floor will be valuable assets to the program. Finishing the freshman line up is Stephanie Lacy from Chesapeake, VA. Stephanie's focus is strengthening a knee that was injured earlier in the season. We're hoping for a quick recovery so she can be ready to show off her beautiful beam and floor routines.
Sophomore's Katie Mingo, Coon Rapids, MN has returned stronger than ever after nursing a shoulder injury her freshman year. We're excited to have her on bars this year as well as floor and beam. Marie Heglund from Andover, MN has made some big improvements on beam to help her team this season and Gina Policelli of Tewksbury, MA is sure to impress her teammates on bars once again this year.
The junior class returns in its entirety with Julia Zimmerman - Chicago, IL, whose success last season has helped motivate her team to stay focused on its goal. Alison Barnard from Vestavia Hills , AL is sure to be a contributor with her consistent routines once again this season. Rounding out the class are Rachel Tatem from Red Bank, NJ and Laura Kelly from Potomac, MD who have upped their skills from last year and are ready to show them off.
With the pressure of the difficult judging system over their heads, in true MIT style this group is using intense work ethic and a hint of perfectionism to conquer this obstacle. The key to the season, as is in most years, is to stay focused and healthy.