Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Aurelia Pollard

Niwot gymnastics has first win of the season


September 11, 2016

Photo by Ed Navarro Niwot gymnastics seniors (left to right) Alexis Carroll, Shanti Stoughton, Sydney Atkins and Amelia Sears.

Niwot’s gymnastics team is working hard in the gym again and starts another season after winning its first Class 4A state title in 15 years.

This year Marisa Purcell is leading the team as its head coach after co-coaching with Mallorie Farrow last year. A new assistant coach, Maddi York, is joining Purcell in coaching the girls.

After coming off a big win last season, Purcell didn’t want the girls to have a big head and tries to help them stay humble but also know what they can achieve.

“My main goal is one, for them to stay humble in knowing that you’ve come off of a win,” Purcell said. “Every year presents new situations and new girls on the team, it’s just different. So what I want them to do is stay humble, but also know what they’re capable of doing.”

The team lost two gymnasts after last season, Ila Katechis who graduated and Marissa Koski who decided not to come out for the team again. Purcell currently has eight girls on varsity, including junior Hannah McDonald who is currently on the injured list.

“We hope that she will be able to compete, however we know that there’s a possibility that she may not be able to,” Purcell said of McDonald.

With only two seniors on the team, Amelia Sears and Alexis Carroll, the rest of the team is fairly young. Other varsity gymnasts include returners junior Lilli Martin, sophomores Lindsay Chohon, Erica Bortfeldt, and newcomer Aleigh Trimble; and freshmen Taylor Green who’s also new to the team.

Martin, who competed on varsity floor and vault last year, has been training to perform as an all around gymnast this year. “She’s working hard to contribute to the team to bring more to the table now that we have others who have left,” Purcell said of the junior.

Purcell said Chohon has also progressed a lot during the off season and will be competing in the all around as well. Green is another all around gymnast who, Purcell said, is fun to watch and “has brought a new vibe to the team.”

One challenge Purcell has as a coach is getting all the girls to compete as a team, rather than just as an individual, which can be tough in such an individual focused sport.

“These gymnastics compete in the offseason and it’s an individual sport,” Purcell explained. “But in high school they all have to come together to compete as a team, so it’s very different… It’s why we work on team bonding and a lot of different team activities, because it’s normally such an individual sport.”

For the team’s first meet on Thursday, September 1 against Fort Collins, seven girls competed on varsity, but Purcell said that can change as the season continues. “As the season progresses you kind of learn if there are other girls that end up competing in varsity for one event or more,” she said.

Even though Purcell prepared the girls for mistakes and falls for the first meet, they still came away with a win of 172.25 against Fort Collins’ 144.9; however, there are still some areas the team needs to work on.

“Overall we had some really great floor and vault last night,” Purcell said of the first meet. “Definitely need some work on bars and beams. It’s a great way to start the season, and to know where we need to improve and get back in the gym and practice harder.”

The gymnastics team’s next meet is on Tuesday, September 6 at Niwot against Loveland, which starts at 6 p.m.


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