The gymnastics team competed in their first meet on Saturday, Nov. 23 in the Alumni Meet held at Gustavus. The team used this competition to practice and evaluate where they currently stand after training since the season began in early October.
“I was really impressed with how the meet went, because it’s really early in our season. We have well over a month before our first real meet,” Senior Paige Dieleman said.
Until the team’s first competition on Jan. 10, the gymnasts will continue to train and practice the routines to get them as close to perfect as possible.
“People are getting their routines together, and that’s just so important because in gymnastics you have to have a lot of repetition of what you’re actually going to do; because you want to be so good at it that it’s just second nature to you,” Dieleman said.
New Head Coach Charlie Aydt is committed not only to keeping the Gustavus gymnastics program alive, but also helping the program thrive. Aydt has begun recruiting more heavily than the program has in the past and believes it is going well.
“I hope we can keep it running, we’re doing all we can to build for years to come. The recruiting is going fairly well, we’ve got quite a few people that are interested,” Aydt said.
With Aydt’s coaching, the team is focused on getting routines put together early on and adding more substance to them later in the season. According to Aydt, the team is ahead of schedule compared to past years.
“My philosophy is that we get those routines down, and then as time goes on we can add something to them, so that’s what we’re looking to do. And that should help them along in the season, as well as for the end of it,” Aydt said.
Junior Kacie Kohler is anxious to see the outcome from Aydt’s emphasis of routines in order to remain solid throughout the season.
“He is really emphasizing routines this year. We’re doing a lot more pre-season routines than we do normally because he wants us to be really consistent throughout the year. In past years we haven’t been very consistent,” Kohler said.
The team is also committed to becoming a tight-knit group, which Dieleman and Kohler both believe is critical to performing well as a team.
“When you’re having a hard day or at a meet, it’s really important to have your teammates behind you. They know your strengths and your weaknesses, and they know what to say to you. You know if you’re bettering one other person you’re bettering everyone,” Dieleman said.
After losing a substantial part of the team as graduating seniors, the younger gymnasts have been forced to step up and perform in the gym, as well as in leadership roles. Adyt is happy with the willingness of the gymnasts to fill the shoes of last year’s seniors.
“They didn’t want to have captains. They just wanted to kind of have a team; they wanted to be one instead of having the seniors being the rulers in the gym. You don’t need to have a C on your arm to be a captain,” Aydt said.
In combination with early preparation and strong team dynamics, the team will focus on having fun as well. The team does not have specific team goals set, but they hope that with proper preparation as well as enjoyment in the sport, the results will take care of themselves.
“We have fun. Our basic goal is to go to the meet and perform well and they’ll get a good score if they do that. We’re going to go out and have fun, and show them what Gustavus Gymnastics is like,” Aydt said.
The team will compete in the first in-season meet on Jan. 10 at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.