South Girls’ Gymnastics team vaults to recognition

By Amrita Rao and Jonah Seifer
Published: December 2009

Making a name for itself is not a top priority for the Girls’ Varsity Gymnastics team, coached by Greg Beaupre and Ali Rosenfeld.

Though some students may not know of its existence, the program’s acclaim is certainly no reflection of the team’s successes.

“[When we] tell people that we do gymnastics, they tell us they didn’t even know South had a team, senior Kate Margulis said. The program has quietly ascended to a higher status, however, reaching the state finals in 2006.

That season, the team broke through the barriers of anonymity. The Middlesex News referred to the Gymnastics team as a “Cinderella story, and the Gymnastics team was also featured in The Boston Globe for their unprecedented success.

The squad looks as though it could find itself back in the state tournament this year, with the core of the team returning.

“Six seniors have been with the team since our freshman year, so we know the rules and the ways [of the sport], co-captain and senior Cora Lee Visnick said of her teammates.

Co-captains and seniors Ariel Kirshenbaum and Sarah Berman agree that the team has plenty of invaluable experience.

“We have a strong returning line-up, and some very promising newcomers, Visnick said.

Promising newcomers like freshman Kyra Visnick, who has been competing in gymnastics for a decade, are bringing their seasoned talents to an already skilled roster.

While many low-profile teams struggle to replace their more experienced seniors when they graduate, Kyra is coming onto the team with just the kind of experience needed to ensure continued success.

Though the team receives limited support from the South community, the girls have compensated for this by forming a strong support network within the team itself: all members of the team enjoy intricate bonds with one another.

“We’re all so close, and that’s a feeling we try to create from day one, Visnick said.

The lack of recognition may be attributable to gymnastics being overshadowed at the school by more mainstream sports.

After all, even at a school criticized for its lack of spirit, there was no shortage of spectators at the Thanksgiving Day football game against Lincoln-Sudbury.

The Gymnastics team has proved to South that success can come without full recognition and support.

“It’s pretty clear that we’ve come a long way, Visnick said.

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