Gymnastics team has high hopes for 2007

For BG’s gymnastics team, this season is one that will be full of hope for a turnaround.

The team is equally high on expectations as they feel they are on talent and will finally get a chance to display it when they travel to Eastern Michigan to open their season at 4 p.m. tomorrow. This match will also be the conference opener.

Head coach Dan Connelly is returning for his 11th season at the University. His assistant coach will be Kerrie Beach, in her 4th season.

The three captains are Seniors Karly Yohe (all-around), Bethany Kenel (beam/floor) and Sakura Tomita (bars/floor).

“Our goal is obviously to win as many meets as we can but also to win the Mid-American Conference,” Kenel said. “It would be awesome to win the MAC. We look forward to starting our year against the MAC.”

The team has had one official scrimmage that was over a month ago. In that scrimmage, the Orange team (comprised of upperclassmen) defeated the Brown team 152.25 – 151.65. All things considered, this will be a younger squad on display for the Falcons. The team has six seniors, five juniors, two sophomores and five freshmen.

“We have a new team this year, with a lot of youth,” Connelly said. “We need to get off to a good start and hit our routines. The scores will mean a lot more than the result of the match.”

Since that scrimmage, the team has practiced since the day after Christmas to get ready for the opener of the season. While they’ve been admittedly tired, they believe it will all be worth it once the season begins.

“Our hopes are high even though last year was hard on us,” Yohe said. “We are more like the underdog this year, but that’s exciting for us. We are good and we need to start the season off well and build from Saturday on.”

The team has battled injury problems in the past and hopes to avoid them as much as possible this season. But, practice has not been taken lightly as high energy and momentum has been gained in the month since the scrimmage.

“The team is pretty healthy at this point,” Connelly said. “Floor exercise is our stronghold for the longest time and it looks to be that way again this year. We have enough depth to be good in every event though.”

Gymnasts are also ready to build on last season with a strong showing in 2007.

“We are all excited to see the start of the season,” Kenel said. “Everyone has looked great and we look to be solid in all of our events. Our bars look better than last year and the beam and vault are improving as well.”

“If we can stay healthy and hit all of our spots, we can have a great year,” Yohe said. “Our goal is to win the MAC title and we can do that if we perform like we know we can.”

While having a successful season is very important to the team, for now, each of them is focused on this weekend’s meet.

“We want to have good routines and perform well on Saturday but we don’t want to peak just yet,” Kenel said. “We all need to get off to a good start this weekend and continue to improve week by week.”

Many of these questions will be answered this weekend when the Falcons finally open the season. Whether or not this team can hang with the defending conference champions will have to wait another week, but Eastern Michigan will provide a nice test to begin the season.