After placing fifth out of eight teams last year, Blair's gymnastics team is currently looking to their third season with fresh enthusiasm and optimism. Numerous new members have brought a new spark to last year's group of veterans.
Coach Paul Belliveau is excited for his students, praising their dedication and promise. He is happy to see a lot more freshmen this year, who he believes have brought a lot of new potential to the team. "We have a lot of new ninth-graders with a whole lot of talent," he said.
Coupled with the experience of the older gymnasts, Belliveau feels that the new talent has made the team altogether stronger. He is especially reliant on the team's leaders, Amanda Allen and Elizabeth Bryant to help the squad along. "Our captains are a vital part of the team. I don't know what I would do without them," he said.
The team is also expecting some extra assistance from last year's captains, Ilene Arnsdorf and Jessica Stamler. Arnsdorf and Stamler plan to return during their spring breaks in order to help out with practices. Belliveau expects that they will greatly contribute in preparing the team for competition.
At the competitions, all of the girls will be judged by the same standards, and will not be separated according to differences in skill. Every high school competitor in the county is grouped together, which Belliveau believes skews the judging. "The scoring is really weird. All of the gymnasts, regardless of ability, are judged the same way. Junior varsity, varsity and freaking professional [gymnasts] are all together," he said.
Due to that mixture of different skill levels, gymnastics predictions are hazy at best. The one firm indication right now, according to Belliveau, is that Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School's (B-CC's) team is greatly improved and will be hard to beat. "B-CC has a half-dozen or so girls who are at a really high level. Their scores will probably blow us out of the water," he reported.
Blair's own new talents, most notably freshmen Nicole Poor and Lisa Wong and sophomore Raya Steinberg will be instrumental in the upcoming competitions.
The first meet will be at home against B-CC on March 26 at 4:00 pm.
Kedamai Fisseha. Kedamai Fisseha sorely misses the computer lab where Silver Chips was born and is daily reborn. He is currently living and writing from London, England where he is glad for the chance to continue his participation in the organization. More »