The high school’s girls’ gymnastic team handled adversity– in the form of initial disconnect and many team injuries– this year and ended their season with a record of 5 wins and 2 losses. Their success, said Junior Captains Lucia Ross ’24 and Caroline Kenny ’24, as well as Head Coach Laura Lawless and Assistant Coach Emily Griffith-Ellis, can be most attributed to the commitment of each individual and the bond the girls formed. 

Whether competing in local meets against schools such in the Bay State Conference, or focusing on new skills and team bonding during practices, the team supports one another and prides themselves on their cheering skills. 

“If you came to a meet, you could feel the energy of them screaming, you can’t even hear yourself,” said Lawless. 

The high school’s gymnastics coach since 2015, Lawless is constantly blown away by this team’s resilience, persistence, and achievements. At their meet against Natick on February 5, all of the girls cleanly hit the new skills in their routines: a rarity in the high school gymnastics world. The team finished on top with their highest season score, prior to Bay States, of 136. In girls high school gymnastics, a perfect team score is 200 points for the sum of all four events: balance beam, bars, floor, and vault. 

To both Lawless and Griffith-Ellis, what makes this team special is the strong synergy between the girls, and shows in their performances and scores. 

“It took a few meets and some of the season for the group to gel and understand the nature of the season and of the team,” said Griffith-Ellis. “The latter portion of the season we’ve seen a synergy form, where the girls are learning the importance of stepping up at meets in order to help the whole team.” 

With an influx of injuries this season, teammates were encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves to try events they ordinarily don’t compete in, namely beam and floor. 

“The lineup has not been what people expected at every meet, sometimes there’s even really last minute changes,” says Kenny. “So people have to step up where they are needed and when they are needed, even if it’s on a moment’s notice.”

Entering the Bay State Championship with high hopes, the team focused on routine upgrades to stand out to the judges. These bonuses were tested at their most recent meet against Natick, so the girls were able to enter Bay States with confidence in their skills and abilities. 

“The upgrades,” said Griffith-Ellis, “are difficult moves to do in the first place, and then there’s an added risk award: you get an additional tenths of a point added to your score for doing challenging skills back to back in a routine.” 

The team finished third overall last year at Bay States, and this year gained a score of 137.55 (their highest score of the season) to finish in fifth place. Caroline Martin ’24 contributed greatly to the teams overall, coming in first on vault with a 9.65 out of 10. To close the season, Michaela Hinderliter ’23 was named Wellesley’s Honorable Mention at Bay States, and Alexa Snyder ’25 finished as an All-Star in the Bay State League on beam.   

In preparation for Bay States, the team wrote anonymous compliments to one another on their skills, attitude, and overall contributions to the team. Reading the notes on the bus to Bay States reminded the team of their strengths and the encouragement they all had around them. In building such a tight-knit bond over the season, the girls grew to feel the love and support surrounding the team. 

Rather than allowing nerves to build leading up to Bay States, the team did what they know best: cheering on their teammates to enter Bay States with harmonious goals, and good attitudes. 

“Keeping the team in a good headspace is super important. It’s the key to winning because if you get all negative, then it’s going to show in your routines,” says Ross. 

Regardless of their placement in competitions and the final scores, this team shows their worth in dedication to the sport, encouragement for teammates, and resilience when facing injuries or losses: all attributes that don’t go unnoticed to their coaches and spectators.  

“That’s what makes a championship team is people who don’t let like the little things shake them,” says Lawless, “They just keep pushing through.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *