HASLETT - “Dedication, commitment, consistency, follow through, showing up, being accountable…all the life skills,” these are the things that come to mind for Haslett Gymnastics Head Coach Marcie Durso when she thinks of what it takes to be a successful gymnast.
Dedication and commitment being two of the biggest, with her team putting in 15-20 hours of mat time a week, ranging from practice to competitions. On top of gymnastics, at the end of the day the 16 girls on the team are still just high school students having to manage school work as well.
“If you look at gymnasts you think they’re like little girls in leos but it’s actually a lot of hard work. Gymnastics is a very mental sport, so if you can overcome that you can pretty much do all of the events,” says Haslett Gymnastics Senior Captain Brooke, Allen.
Many high schools have dropped gymnastics as an option due to the high insurance liability of it’s nature. The sport is comprised of four separate events; floor exercise, uneven bars, balance beam and vault. Each team is allowed to have six girls participate for each event and the top four highest scores are combined to make up their team score.
“This is a unique, it is a team but when you’re out there, you’re out there by yourself. That can be a lot of pressure on someone,” Says Coach Durso. Practices before meets, each girl is required to work on all four events but during a normal practice they are encouraged to work on the events they struggle with the most. Emotions run high on meet days.
“Individually I have to remind myself, to take a deep breath and to like calm down because you are out there alone and even though your team is there supporting you it’s kind of like you need to do what you need to do,” says Allen.
Each competition has a theme the team strives towards. Coach Durso says they put up their team picture on the wall and come up with words that define them as a team and one of those words becomes the theme. The team focuses on individual goals and improvement as well.
“It’s kind of nervous but also fun at the same time because everyone is watching you go but also the whole team is cheering for you to go,” says Haslett Gymnastics Senior Captain, Cara Clarizio.
The team continues to tumble their way to the top building on their success from last season where they only lost one meet during the regular season. They are currently undefeated and Coach Durso says they hope to stay that way going into the league finals.
“This year’s team has depth of talent which is different than previous years. Talent runs deep,” Says Coach Durso. Their talent comes from three local high schools, six girls from Williamston, one girl from Bath and the remaining eight from Haslett. This community forged bond creates a unique experience for all who are apart of it.