WARSAW – Experience will be a key, but numbers will be a priority as Warsaw’s gymnastics team prepares for the 2015 competition season.
The Lady Tigers are returning a decent core group of gymnasts to the equipment this season, but will have to lean upon the group to do its scoring. Warsaw will start the season with just eight competitors, and only four have any lengthy high school experience.
Leading the team will be four-year varsity returner Shannon Winslow, who was the team’s top point scorer last season. Winslow is more than capable of scoring well in all four events, but points to floor and bars as her strong suits. Winslow posted Warsaw’s best figures on the bars, floor and vault at last year’s Wawasee Gymnastics Sectional as well as an all-around score of 32.35.
Winslow is the only Warsaw gymnast to return as an all-around competitor from last season’s sectional, forcing the remainder of the group to step up.
Katie Richard, another senior on the squad, dealt with injuries for much of her junior season. Richard, however, was a solid contributor to Warsaw’s team as a sophomore and should step in as another all-around candidate. Kristen Holladay gives Warsaw a third senior who is versatile, but will compete in just three events sans bars.
Tippecanoe Valley senior transfer Jazzmine Brown enters the competition spectrum as a potential all-around performer for the Lady Tigers, giving second-year head coach Megan Kammerer plenty of options at the top. Brown, however, did not compete at Valley, entering this season without the high school scope as a fallback.
Junior Nadiya Burritt also returns, but Kammerer noted Burritt will compete in just bars. Burritt did compete in both bars and beam at last year’s sectional.
“Last year I became head coach shortly before the season started,” Kammerer said. “This year we had open gyms all summer to keep the team in shape. We had more time to prepare for our season’s timeline on what we wanted to have accomplished at different times during the season.”
Kammerer noted during preseason practice earlier this week there are a trio of freshmen who are training with the program. The coach did not go further into their involvement with the team heading into winter break.
“I am very positive that we are going to do well,” Kammerer said. “We have done our best to work all summer and helping the girls to improve their skills and stunts. We are also focusing on trying to keep consistent routines this year and sticking them.”
Warsaw will begin its gymnastics season Saturday, Jan. 3, at the Blazer Invite hosted by Elkhart Central.