Youth movement afootAt the behest of her gymnasts, Red Wing coach Beth Mayer brought back the goal journals for this season.
By: Ryan Nilsson, The Republican Eagle
At the behest of her gymnasts, Red Wing coach Beth Mayer brought back the goal journals for this season.
The day before a meet or on the bus ride to an away meet, each Red Wing gymnast writes down her individual goals and, sometimes, team goals.
The books, which the girls can decorate and personalize, are often filled with immediate goals — a score they are striving for or a desire to not take extra steps on vault.
Before today’s season-opening invite at Byron, Mayer asked her team to write down some more long-term goals and she was pleased with the high standards her athletes set for themselves.
“Sometimes the coaches’ goals for an athlete are higher than what the athletes’ were,” Mayer said. “And I was so impressed by the choices that they wrote in there. They were wanting to do the higher-level skills. They talked about the team getting along. I couldn’t have asked them to write better goals.”
For the team to attain its goals and peak at the Section 1A meet, it figures the Wingers will be counting on eighth-graders Carlie Sandstrom and Kassidy Coplan and freshman Molly Hart to make significant contributions this season.
All three competed at the varsity level for Red Wing last year and nine members from that team either graduated or elected not to return.
“I see improvements already, just in the few weeks we’ve been in the gym. (Sandstrom’s) been making a lot of improvements,” senior Kirsten Bluhm said. “I know she said she was working back tucks on beam, which is great for her. Any skills we can move up in beam is great.
“Molly, I can see that she’s just so much more confident this year. She knows what’s going on. And the same with Kaleigh (Owens) and Kassidy.”
Owens is a freshman who also was on the team last year.
Karina Buczko, the team’s other senior, also noted that her young teammates have the work ethic to excel.
“I think it’s amazing to see what hard workers they are,” she said, adding, “They aren’t like dillydallying or fooling around. They’re trying new things and they’re trying hard things.”
Mayer said the flood of young talent can sometimes cause problems with team chemistry among a team’s veteran members, but that hasn’t been the case this season.
“The younger girls look up to us a lot,” Bluhm said. “They see us working in the gym and they’ve already been coming to me and asking certain skills. ‘Is it a superior? Is it a back-to-back?’ Or, ‘Can you watch me to see if this is connected?’ ... They know that they can come to us and ask. And they have been, which is great.”