By: Alex Toribio, Contributing Writer
The Towson gymnastics team held a preseason intersquad scrimmage Friday at SECU Arena to open up its 2015-16 season.
The women were split into two teams, the gold team and the black team. They were then rotated between the bar, vault, floor and beam events, as if they were in a dual-meet setting.
The gold team consisted of junior Bridget Steffen, sophomores Tyra McKellar and Gabby Yarussi, and freshmen Cortni Baker, Danijela Jergan, Amanda Pratt, Brittney Ranti and Aysia Sharif. The black team consisted of senior Lydia Thompson, Juniors Bailey Fobes, Bailey Gallagher, sophomores Lauren Cahalan, Noelle Harada and freshmen Mary Ellen Arduino, Katie McGrady and Erin Tucker.
The scrimmage was not scored, but the girls on the team still competed fiercely.
“The girls did fantastic, especially because more than half of the girls had never used the equipment and space in the arena before,” Head Coach Vicki Chliszczyk said. “As for the coaching staff, we wanted to see how the girls would perform in front a crowd and for them to get those first nervous kinks out of the way before the real season starts.”
Not only was this meet for the gymnasts to feel comfortable with a crowd watching, it was also a run-through for the support staff. This was the first time since last season that the support team had to set up for the different events and work the system. Everything seemed to go smoothly and they didn’t have any obvious technical problems.
After the final event was over, each gymnast had their own post-meet autograph signing.
This will be a regular post-meet occasion for fans to acknowledge their favorite athlete.
“We will have new posters for the gymnasts regarding the autograph signings at each home meet,” Chliszczyk stated. The main challenge for the coaching staff is still finding the first athlete to start each event. Many factors go into play when the selection is made. The coaches have to look for someone who will set a calm and cool tone for the event.
It’s important for the coaches to know what girls will be able to bounce back if they happen to mess up so the next girls in line aren’t worried and can keep their focus.
“It’s a team sport, everyone has to be confident and ready to go,” Chilszczyk said.
The girls only have a couple more practices till their first meet Jan. 10 at the University of Pittsburgh. Coach Chilszczyk says the practices are going be light during finals so the girls aren’t too stressed out. Then, they have a short break before they’re back at it Dec. 27 with two-a-day practices.