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Bears look to build on past years' success

After a frustrating end to an otherwise successful 2010-11 season, the gymnastics team has ambitious, yet plausible, goals for the upcoming year.

"We just missed going to (United States of America Gymnastics) Nationals, which is a big deal, and we are really hoping to get there this year," said co-captain Lilly Siems '12.

According to Siems, co-captain Katie Goddard '12 and Head Coach Sara Carver-Milne, the team has improved each year since this year's seniors began on the team as first-years in 2008. This upward trend culminated in last year's promising season, during which the team broke the school's previous records in the balance beam, uneven bars and vault and nearly broke the school's all-around record. In addition to these team accomplishments, a number of individuals also broke records and won awards.

"It was just an incredible building season," said Carver-Milne, who is entering her 11th season with the team this year.

Carver-Milne said missing Nationals was a disappointing finish to the encouraging season. "We were right in it last year, and then at the very, very, very last meet we got bumped out by a hundredth of a tenth," she said.

But Carver-Milne said this experience pushed the team to work harder to get to Nationals this year. "They are more experienced. They are hungry. They know what they can achieve. They've seen it first hand. So they'll get there," she said.

The team also hopes to win the Ivy League championship, in which they placed third last year. "We are right there. It's just a matter of putting it together on that day," Carver-Milne said.

In order to achieve these goals, the team has prioritized consistency and handling the pressure of meets. This is especially important for the two new first-years, Danielle Hoffman '15 and Allison Rubenstein '15, who are not used to competing at a team level. Hoffman and Rubenstein will be replacing two graduated seniors from last year's squad. But, according to their captains and coach, they will only be assets to the team.

"The freshmen are incredible," Goddard said. "They picked up on everything right away."

 "By the time we get to senior year, we are a little banged up and tired," Siems said. "So we really do rely on the freshmen to compete for us."

The older members of the squad are also promising. The captains' leadership helps the team focus and behave as a cohesive group, Carver-Milne said.

"They watch each other. They won't let anything slide," Carver-Milne said. "They are going to listen to their bodies. They are going to stay focused and driven."

Injuries may pose a major challenge for the team, but this year, the team hopes a practice schedule including more conditioning will prevent injuries from being as detrimental as in years past.

In order to succeed this season, the team has to remember that "every meet counts," said Carver-Milne, starting with the team's first competition against the University of Bridgeport and Rhode Island College at home Jan. 22.


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