Gymnastics, Gators, and Fried Food…Oh My

29 Feb

Hello, this week we are going to take a look from the sidelines. We had the pleasure of traveling to Shreveport, Louisiana. We also had the pleasure of having are lovely athletic trainer, Leah Pouliot, traveling with us to keep us in tip- top shape, and health! We all greatly appreciate what she does!

The weekend started out bright and early Friday morning when we met at 4:45. We flew out from Boston to Atlanta, where we met Aaron Carter, the childhood pop star! After this we caught our next flight into Louisiana. We arrived early in the afternoon and picked up our three mini vans, and headed to our hotel. After settling in, we changed for a night out on the town! We traveled to a local outdoor boardwalk and shopping mall, where we enjoyed shopping and having a delicious Italian dinner.

Saturday started out bright and early with a trip to the Mardi Gras Museum downtown, where we got a taste of the culture and history of the holiday. We then headed off to a true southern-style lunch. We were able to try hush puppies, along with fried alligator. With a full belly, we headed for the meet.

Brittany Baglow injured herself in warm ups and was required to sit out; not the way we planned on the meet starting off. We were still able to stay strong and focused through the meet. Down one gymnast, the team was forced to count all five scores on each event. Starting off rough on the bars, the team stayed strong, and stepped it up for the next three events. Sophomore Keelin O’Connel had a stand out performance on beam this week scoring a 9.625 placing third on the event. The team finished with a score of 180.125.

As Sunday rolled around, the team was prepared for a fun filled day of alligator hunting! The team was able to feed and interact with all different animals such as alligators, camels, ostrich, and goats. While being a hop, skip, and a jump away from Texas, the team decided to travel there for lunch. We enjoyed some more hush puppies along with fried food… delicious. As the day concluded, we wound down our trip in Louisiana and headed to the airport.

With fried food in our tummies, and British accents in our mouth we arrived safely back in Springfield around 1:00 am. We all had a fantastic time and are so lucky to have this opportunity. Our last home meet and Senior Day will be held this Sunday, March 4 at 1 pm in Blake Arena.

From the sidelines of Freshman Sarah Libuda and Michele Markel

Gaining Strength

22 Feb

This past Sunday, Springfield competed against a pair of Division II schools in Southern Connecticut State University and West Chester. We had a team score of 181.875 and we showed more improvement.

There were a few obstacles we had to get by this week in the gym and even at the meet. Between injuries and sicknesses, our team has been suffering a little bit. Having one of our strongest competitors, junior Brittany Baglow, out on two events due to injury was a little bit of a struggle. However, sophomore Jen Habeeb had no problem stepping up and putting up a score that was counted towards our team score.  Each person contributed to the team and each person’s effort was valued!

This week’s word added to our team rope was strength. As a team, we focused more on our mental strength than our physical strength. We all know we are capable of hitting routines and hitting skills, but it is the mental side of gymnastics that can get the best of us.

The girls said, “We all know how to do our routines. We have done these routines a thousand times. Lets focus on the mental strength and put it in automatic.” This was great motivation to the team and really stuck in our heads. We didn’t perform our strongest routines at the meet, however, we are taking the things that went wrong and using it as fuel to improve and clean up.

Springfield is looking forward to traveling down to Louisiana to compete on Saturday! Check back in next week for the next blog! Thanks!

-Sophomore Keelin O’Connel

Success at SCSU

17 Feb

Sunday was another big meet for us as we went against Yale, University of Bridgeport, and Rhode Island College. Our word for the meet was “passion”. Recognizing our deep passion for the sport, and the team, we were able to have a very strong and confident meet.

We place third overall, and managed to come out with our highest team score of the season, 185.625, less than a point from breaking the school record! Our competition began on bars, an event that seems to be continually getting stronger as the season continues. There were a few minor errors, but with some quick thinking and adjusting we were able to still have strong routines. The perseverance and determination by the bars competitors showed the team that we need to focus on the little things and not giving any points away. Our high score on bars was a 9.375 by freshman, Nikki Caradonna.

We then moved to the beam where we continued to show our confidence and determination in each routine. The ladies competing on the beam seemed very relaxed and confident with their routines this week, which seems to be what works best for this event. Our high on beam was a 9.425 scored by senior, Kristina Lantos, which was also her career high!

Getting the two most nerve-racking events out of the way, we continued to floor, and had yet another incredible performance. Our girls had great execution on their tumbling passes as well as their dance combinations. They showed off their routines earning four scores above a 9.50 from senior Carly Flynn, junior Annmarie Graziosa, and senior Megan German, and our high being a 9.750 scored by junior Brittany Baglow.

We ended the meet with a strong finish on the vault. There was a little added pressure on the vaulters this week because we only had five competing; meaning each vault had to count. The competition ended with a perfect stick from Brittany, scoring a 9.525, while Carly totaled the team’s high score of a 9.55.

Overall, this meet was very successful as we demonstrated perseverance, confidence, determination, as well as passion. Our next meet is at Southern Connecticut State University on February 19th at 1:00 pm. By keeping the same mind-set and making minor improvements with each meet, we will be able to reach our ultimate goal of making it to the NCGA Championships as a team.  So exciting!! Go! Pride! Fight!

Sophomore-Sarah Perry

Tumble for Teal

7 Feb

Our gymnastics meet on Sunday was our second home meet. It was a very special meet for us since it was the “Tumble for Teal” meet where we raise awareness for gynecological cancers in memory of Maureen Duffy, a Springfield College gymnast alumni, who passed away a few years ago.  Raffle tickets and pledges went to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. To show our support, we wore teal leotards to represent the cause.

The word for this meet was attitude.  We demonstrated a positive, confident, determined and persevering attitude throughout the entire meet.  Being at home, we received a lot of support from our parents, family members, friends and teammates.  We came into the meet knowing that Cortland is a friendly team with good competition.  Coach had told us the goal of this meet was to have clean routines.

Our meet began on vault, which is one of our stronger events.  The judging was a bit tough, but we all had clean landings with minimum steps, which is always a plus.

Heading over to bars after vault was really exciting.  The bars routines were all phenomenal as we went 6-for-6, meaning every girl hit her routine.  We brought that enthusiasm over to the beam, where we did well despite some missed skills. Although all routines were not up to par, we did show improvement, especially with the help of our girls who had their highest score so far this season.

We kept our confidence level up as we headed to our favorite and most exciting event which is floor.  The excitement level from our home fans increased tremendously as we began our routines.  Feeding off of the crowd, we all had awesome floor routines where we went 6-for-6 again.  It was really an enjoyable event for everyone to watch.

Even though Cortland came out on top with a win of 187.525 -185.35, we had achieved our highest score of the season. Many of the girls had personal bests on some events, especially Abby Clark who is named the Springfield College Female Maroon Athlete of the Week.  Congrats!!

There is always room for improvement, but we accomplished our goal of having clean routines and positive attitudes throughout the competition, which allowed us to do well. We are heading in the right direction  to reach our ultimate goal of peaking at the ECAC Championships.  I am so proud of all the girls as they continue to grow and improve as gymnasts both at practice and at competitions.

Our next meet is on February 11th at Yale starting at 1:00 p.m. It is going to be a quad meet which will include Yale, University of Bridgeport, Rhode Island College, and of course the Springfield College Pride! I’m sure it will be an exciting competition.

~ Junior Annmarie Graziosa

Valuable Lessons

1 Feb

If I had to use three words to describe the fourth meet of our 2012 season, I would choose long, determination and experience.  I carefully selected the word “long” to describe the five hours it took to drive from Springfield to the location of our meet in Ithaca, NY.  Thankfully, upstate New York is having just as mild of a winter as us, so there was barely any snow or ice to slow our travel.

In addition to the length of our journey, the word “long” also describes the competition itself.  The original layout of the meet included a dual competition between us and Ithaca College.  However, due to the cancellation of another meet, Rhode Island College joined us, making it a tri-meet.  Instead of each team moving on from one event to the next, there were only two sets of judges so each team was given two byes during the meet. This extended the meet by about an hour so the meet started at 3pm and ended at around 7pm.  Hence the word “long”.

The duration of the meet wasn’t all bad though. Although it was taxing, it proved to be an example of the length of our championship meets held at the end of the season, including ECAC’s and NCGA’s.  We came into this meet hoping to improve on our previous success and work towards our end of the season competitions.  This brought us to the word we selected to motivate us for this meet: Determination.

Determination was the word that we added to our team rope and was chosen to represent “ the act of achieving something for a purpose”.  Coming into the meet, we had high hopes of achieving a strong team score and improving on our individual performances. However, determination proved to be a more motivational word than we expected as we faced some difficulties on our first event.

Bars proved to be a challenge as we suffered some falls and missed skills, which started our team score off pretty low. However, the two anchors on the event, Rachel and Lauren, performed beautiful routines to complete that event. Although we realized we were not on track for our aspired team score, we came across another interpretation of the word determination: overcoming obstacles and fighting for the finish.

We continued to observe this trend on vault and floor as we had some unexpected falls and difficult judging. Coming off of floor with some disappointment and frustration, we headed for beam.  At this point, Coach Raymond pulled us together and reminded us of our need for determination, and to have confidence on one of the most difficult and nerve-racking events in gymnastics.  Beam has always been one of our challenges in competition, but on our last event we showed some amazing stamina and determination to pull through a very strong performance, counting only two falls.

This brings us to the last word: Experience.  Although we entered the meet with certain expectations and left with very different accomplishments, we did come away with some valuable lessons.  I mentioned before that the length of the meet was good practice for future competitions.  Competing at Ithaca also gave us a look at the gym where the ECAC Championships will be held the weekend of March 10th. This meet showed us what to expect and work on for the championship meet of the season.  We didn’t get to experience everything we’re expecting for ECAC’s though, because we do expect to have more fans the next time we’re at Ithaca!  With that said thanks to the boyfriends of our three senior’s and co-captains for driving the five-plus hours to show their unwavering support!

In summary, the meet had its ups and downs, but we had a great experience and learned a lot. We are excited to continue to work hard in the gym for our upcoming Tumble for Teal meet in Blake Arena on February 5th! Hope to see you there!

Junior-  Brittany Baglow

SC Women’s Home Opener

23 Jan

The 2012 women’s gymnastic’s home opener was a thrilling meet. The Pride went up against Division I Yale, Division II SCSU, and Division III SUNY Brockport. The energy was amazing and we demonstrated great confidence and perseverance throughout the meet. The team decided after a previous disappointing meet that PERSEVERANCE was the word that needed to be added onto the team’s rope. The team had an incredible come back and proved that every week we can show improvements to reach our goals.

Although the team’s all-around score ranked us fourth in the meet, I have never been more proud of how the girls presented themselves against the tough competition. The girls worked extremely hard all week to tweak their performance from the previous meet and successfully raised the Pride’s all-around score from 177.75 to 184.55. That is almost a seven point increase!

I have to give a quick shout out to all of our friends and family who helped set up and break down the equipment. We had friends from Homeshow, classmates, members of the men’s team, boyfriends, and parents who helped us quickly set-up and break down. What a HUGE help they were! THANK YOU! After the meet we had a chance to meet and greet with friends and family with a potluck style meal. Thanks to Steevo, we were able to even watch the football game while we all spent time together and enjoyed a great meal. Thanks to everyone who brought food, it was delicious!

The team is looking forward to another travel meet to Ithaca this weekend and are preparing for our annual Tumble for Teal Meet. More info will come to describe the importance and excitement of the Tumble for Teal Meet, but it is February 5th and a Kindle Fire will be raffled off to earn proceeds for a great cause.

Senior- Megan German

A Trip To the Keystone State

18 Jan

Entry #2 – Senior tri-captain Carly Flynn

I’d like to talk about our first big travel meet to Ursinus College in Pennsylvania.  Our second meet of the year was against four other teams including, Ursinus, Wilson, West Chester and Towson.

For the first time in my four years at Springfield College, we traveled to Pennsylvania and arrived early enough that we had free time to ourselves to relax for a few hours, which was pretty exciting!  Luckily there was a huge mall close enough to walk to from the hotel, which was where we had a delicious dinner at T.G.I Fridays.

Since the meet was made up of two other Division III teams, a Division II team and a Division I team, there was a lot of excitement to go along with a highly energetic atmosphere.  It was great to see a higher level of gymnastics from the Division I team.  After adding the word TOGETHER to our rope for the first meet, we felt that CONFIDENCE would be a great word to add to the rope for the first travel meet. It is important that we stay confident in ourselves and each other especially at travel meets where the equipment is unfamiliar.

Unfortunately this week, the team fell below our expectation hat we had set after our successful first meet. It is important that we learn from our mistakes and we are all excited to get back into the gym to work hard and have a better meet next Sunday. We can only go up from here!

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