After two decades, Blair gymnastics is reinstated
A Blair girls' gymnastic team will reemerge this 2002 spring season after dissolving in the late 1970s. The budding club team, which was reestablished through the year-long efforts of a core group of students and parents, has seen a large turnout of prospective members.
Twenty-nine girls with widely varying gymnastics skills tried out for the team on Mar 7. The show of interest allayed Blair Athletic Director Dale Miller's initial skepticism about the gymnastic team's weak appeal which he expressed when juniors Ilene Arnsdorf and Jessica Stamler first proposed a team last May.
"Last year, some of my friends in [Bethesda- Chevy Chase (B-CC) High School] got a team started, which inspired me," said Arnsdorf. "I asked myself why we can't have that happen here. So we really put in the effort, got parents involved and had a great result."
Blair joins seven other MCPS high schools with gymnastic teams, including B-CC, Gaithersburg, Walter Johnson, Quince Orchard, Sherwood, Whitman and Springbrook high schools. Blake High School is preparing to establish a team for next season.
By next year, nine MCPS high schools will have gymnastics club teams. Only three more schools need to establish gymnastics programs in order for girls' gymnastics to become a varsity sport, according to Janice Cornell, the county director of girls' gymnastics and coach of Walter Johnson's gymnastics team.
Arnsdorf and Stamler, along with senior Maryn Valdez and juniors Nora Toiv and Renee Bannerman, desired to extend their gymnastics backgrounds into the high school setting. Arnsdorf currently competes for Silver Star Gymnastics in Silver Spring, and the other four each have nearly a decade of gymnastics experience. Paul Belliveau, a former coach of four of the Blair team's founding gymnasts will coach the young team this season.
Though the Blair athletic department authorized the team, it decided not to provide funding, because schools are not required to have teams. "Our decision here was to not put money into the program. It's not a program open to all schools," said Miller. According to Stamler, Miller will cut the team if interest drops.
Parents sought to borrow equipment from schools around the county, including Takoma and Sligo middle schools and Seneca Valley High School, whose team was recently disbanded.
The gymnastics team practices three times a week from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the gym. In the season's five meets, seven gymnasts from each team are judged in the events of vaulting, uneven parallel bars, floor exercise and balance beam.
Vivian Wang. Vivian Wang, a senior at Blair, is a first year Managing Sports editor for Silver Chips. She is in the Blair Math, Science, and Computer Science Magnet Program, yet has equal interests in the humanities and arts. In fact, she belonged to the Eastern Humanities … More »