Weekly Feature



2016-10-06 / Sports

Lancaster gymnastics pushes forward with young group

by TAYLOR NIGRELLI Reporter

Things were uncertain for Lancaster gymnastics early in the season. The team had graduated two of its girls from last year’s team and had only one senior and no seventh grades.

But things are looking up for Coach Donna Aquino’s squad.

“We have a pretty solid core led by 10th-grader Makenzie Castiglione, 11th-grader Kelly Rose Devine, newcomer Hannah Hammerl, as well as Abby Helenbrook, Kaylie Sterling, Heather Thomson, and captain Jenna Hughes,” Aquino said. “Captain Julia Colvin, Amanda Konieczny return to add to the team's success. We look forward to seeing our youngsters Ali Wojciechowski and Courtney Ando step up this season as well. New to the team are Madison Dobucki, Jenna Draves and Katelyn Blask who are quickly realizing the work it takes to compete at the Varsity level.”

Each girl has a specific skill or attribute that stands out to Aquino, which is important considering the team only has 16 members. If a team as small as this is to succeed, it would require a top effort from every girl.

“Courtney had an early injury last season as a seventh-grader that put her out for the season. She is a fun athlete to watch and is working very hard to prove herself this season,” Aquino said. “Ali had a preseason injury she is working to get back to her full speed. 11th-grader Amanda Marafino returns and we're trying to keep her healthy as she has been having some ankle issues so far this season. She is a beautiful gymnast to watch and could really help this small team of 16.

“Makenzie Castiglione is one to watch in the top 10 for Section VI as she returns this season after having a surgically repaired big toe last season and didn't get to compete in the all-around. Kenzy was on the Section VI state team as an eighth grader and placed eighth in the state that year on floor exercise. She is an elegant and stylish gymnast with outstanding dance and just awesome to watch compete.

“Kelly Rose Devine is committed to improving every year. She is one determined young athlete and we're happy she will be representing Lancaster. Kelly Rose placed sixth on beam, 10th vault and 13th All around at last season's Sectional competition and she is one to watch as well.

“Another top finisher last season was Abby Helenbrook who placed ninth on beam in last year’s sectional competition. Abby scored an 8.60 in yesterday’s meet against Frontier and Hamburg which is a great start for her.”

The Lady Legends won their first meet last Wednesday at home over Frontier and Hamburg by a score of 164.25 to 152.6 and 149.55, respectively.

Rose had a score of 9.05 in the vault, while Castiglione and Thomson had scores of 8.4 and 8.2, respectively. Castiglione scored an 8.7 in the bars, while Rose was at 8 and Hammerl was at 7.5. Hammerl earned a score of nine on the beam while Helenbrook and Rose were at 8.6 and 8.5, respectively. Castiglione led the floor scores at 9.3 while Rose and Hammerl were both at 8.4.

“Kelly Rose nailed her new vault, Castiglione fell on the landing but score an 8.40. We need a little more work on cleaning up our bars with execution. It should come together as we head into October,” Aquino said. “Beam is another event where we need consistency in our skills. Tumbling can be iffy some days so it's a matter of repetitions and confidence. Floor has been a strong event traditionally for Lancaster. Kenzy doesn't disappoint when she competes and Hammerl had a fall on her last tumbling pass which took her out of the 9's.”

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