ST. MARYS — The St. Marys gymnastics team returns four gymnasts that played key roles from last season in their success.
Senior Kaitlynn Neureiter, juniors Rachael Johnson and Olivia Mosier, and sophomore Summer Herring are the quartet that head coach Irene McCandless will rely on this year. The good news is three of those four compete in all-around events.
The Lady Dutchmen have used the first couple weeks of practice getting back into a routine, although it hasn’t been the easiest so far, admits McCandless.
“Preseason practices are always rough trying to get everyone back in to shape and get all routines in place,” she said. “The girls seem to be adjusting, but it is a very long and tedious task. It’s such a short period of time to get them all ready for the first meet so we are trying to keep everything simple, especially on bars.
“Bars is definitely going to be once again a very troublesome area. You will pretty much always see this with all true high school teams. If we can hit at least a 20-25 on this event, then we know we are doing okay.”
Neureiter and Johnson’s presence in meets will provide a big boost for St. Marys this season as both missed time with injuries last year. Neureiter missed the whole season with a fractured ankle, while Johnson was also out for part of the season with a foot/ankle injury.
Both Neureiter and Johnson will compete in the all-around, as will Mosier and freshmen Therese Guido and Angelina Steffan, making half the team available in all events.
Herring, the other key gymnast in the fold for McCandless, will be performing in the vault, bars, and floor.
“I believe that the four returning gymnasts are definitely going to be the leaders for this season,” said McCandless. “They have been really helpful with the newcomers in adjusting to the equipment and helpful with routines.”
Also on the team are sophomore Jade Singer, and freshmen Grace Mattivi, Kylee Rapp and Gina Salvaggio.
Singer will compete in the vault and floor, while Salvaggio will take part in the vault, beam and floor. Mattivi will go in the beam and floor, while Rapp will participate in the beam.
St. Marys will compete in the Central Pennsylvania Gymnastics League. Other schools that offer gymnastics in the league are DuBois and Ridgway, and schools outside the area such as Altoona and Bellefonte.
“The expectation for this year’s team is obviously to be competitive with the other league teams,” said McCandless. “It may be difficult, but I believe the team has the heart and spirit to do their very best.”
Seniors: Kaitlynn Neureiter. Juniors: Rachael Johnson, Olivia Mosier. Sophomores: Summer Herring, Jade Singer. Freshmen: Therese Guido, Grace Mattivi, Kylee Rapp, Gina Salvaggio, Angelina Steffan.