Gymnastics: Red Wing building a foundation
The bathroom is just a bathroom, and not also the beginning of the runway to the vault. There is room to walk around each apparatus, room to land, room to run, even room to just stand.
Space is the easily the story for the Red Wing gymnastics team this season. Moving into a new building, along with tenant TNT Gymnastics, means the Wingers will actually be able to spread out. And not just in a comfort way, but also, in time, to make each girl a better gymnast.
“We’re so excited about our new location. It’s beautiful, an actual, true gymnastics facility. We love it and we’re settling in nicely,” said co-head coach Megan Latch. “The biggest thing for me is safety. We’re able to move around the gym with different stations and we’re doing things that were not possible before. And the second thing is equipment. We have four beams now, a trampoline and a pit. It’s going to allow us to teach skills that we were not able to teach in the other facility.”
The space is no more apparent than with two particular stations.
“In the past, with bars and beam, we had to dismount onto the floor. So you couldn’t use the floor, or someone would come by and be in the way,” said Lisa Hanson, the other half of the coaching duo. “Now, that’s not even a factor.”
Along with a new practice facility, Red Wing will also host three meets this season.
“We have two home meets this year, two Thursdays back-to-back in January,” Latch said. “We’re trying to figure out logistics after not hosting for so many years. For the girls, it’s a wonderful experience. We’ll get to host a parent’s night, which we haven’t done for a while. And the Big Nine meet, it’s going to be, whew.”
All of that is a ways off, the immediate future is a trip to Byron on Saturday to open the new season. And while some familiar names from the past few years have graduated, captains Mackenzie Irwin and Paige Patterson will have the team in good hands.
“We have really good numbers, we’re at our highest since we’ve been here,” Latch said. “One thing we have going for us this year is depth. In years past, we’ve had one or two standout gymnasts, this year I fell like we have some rock stars, but we can really fill in holes. And we’re starting to see the club pay off. This is the first year our incoming skill level for the girls is higher, as a whole, than any other year.”
Said Hanson, “Our senior leadership is great. We have six seniors, and they’re all leaders in different ways. It’s going to be sad to see that group go, but they’ve really been great for the program.”
The goal for the team is the same every year, but with everything finally coming together, the competition won’t just be against other teams.
“We always want to better ourselves. We start Saturday, and see where the baseline is,” Latch said. “With our depth this year, I want to see that in-house competition and see the girls compete and take pride in owning that JV or varsity spot because we do have that depth.”