Boys’ Gymnastics team gains members, spirit

By Zach Pawa
Published: December 2010

For years a one-man team, the Newton South Boys’ Gymnastics team has added seven new members to its program. The flipping, spinning, and soaring attracted students of all grades to join this seemingly impossible sport this season.
Last year, the team only had one member; however, this year the team’s roster ballooned to eight athletes.
“It was a one-man team. I was obligated to keep it alive, senior and Captain Carlos Morales said. “For me the dedication and hard work has finally paid off. It has been very gratifying.
To acquire the new members, Morales made several announcements on the speaker system in the school throughout the fall season and pasted many flyers onto the school walls.
With the addition of three juniors, three sophomores, and one freshman the team is coming closer and closer to realizing Morales’s dream of a complete team.
“We need at least 10 more kids, freshman Khashayer Dashti said. “Then we will become a real team. According to junior Joseph Goodman, most teams have about the same number of people, but could have as many as 12.
The team is led by Head Coach Tom Steves, who faces a challenge coaching a team with inexperienced athletes. Before the team moves onto learning complicated tricks, the athletes have to acquire the basics. “My goal is to give everyone a basic foundation, Steves said. “This will build the team for future years.
As a result of their lack of experience, the team has to focus on building the program so it will continue. The team practices five days a week at Newton North High School, working to build a strong foundation for next season. Each practice consists of a demanding two-hour long cardio and muscular workout, pushing the athletes to their limits.
“We are working on basic skill and getting into shape, Steves said. “This is what will build the team.
While last year was used to gain team members, this season will be treated as a year to gain experience and skill for the team. With a limited skill set resulting from the small size of the team, it will be hard to compete at other schools’ levels this season, so the team will most likely have to wait to earn a trophy. “It will be the younger kids who lead us to success, Steves said.
With six events that need to be covered, the kids will have to work hard to produce the necessary number of competitors for each event. “It is going to be a challenge to win meets, Morales said. “We need more kids who can cover more than one event.
With a minimal number of multi-event athletes, the team is going to face many challenges this year. Before the team stands a chance of winning competitions, it will have to develop its athletes to be able to compete in all of the events. “Covering all the events is a long way away, Steves said. “This is our goal for right now.
While the team is lacking in skill, it has greatly improved since last year. Adding new members has been crucial for the team.
Last year the team didn’t win a single meet, going 0-7 on the season, and suffered periods of low morale, but it is hoping to change that this year. “It was hard to compete last year, Morales. “Sometimes I had to convince myself it was all worth it.
Time after time, asking people to join has paid off, and Morales is on his way to building a real team. “By being a one man team I thought I would draw attention to the sport, Morales said. “It finally worked and people began to join this year.
While the tournament is not in sight yet, no one can write off this team as not having a chance to win. Nearly extinct last year, the team stayed alive, creating a positive outlook for the upcoming seasons. “It’s all going to come down to commitment, Steves said. “Offseason training and hard work will decide the future of this team.
Unfortunately for the team, this will be Morales’s last year at South. “Now it is up to sophomores and juniors, Steves said. “They will carry this team. No one can say where the Boys Gymnastics’ team will be in a few years, but it is definitely heading in the right direction for success.

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