Ridgway gymnastics will field a smaller amount of roster members this season and will have a solid core of seniors this season.
“We have a smaller team, we have 11 this year and five are seniors,” Ridgway coach Edna Maddalena said. “This is probably the best mesh, the best group of girls with us getting along and helping each other in the gym that we’ve had.”
Maddalena knows of at least two current seniors which were state qualifiers in the past, Amanda Maddalena and Kayla Pavlock, both of whom are seniors this season. Courtney Bush, Sam Covac and Kendall Jordan round out the list of seniors. Coach Maddalena said experience in the vault is high.
“We have a lot of vault experience,” coach Maddalena said. “They feel vault is their strongest event with eight or nine gymnasts with vault experience. We lost three seniors on beam. Our beam took the biggest hit with seniors graduating. We are pushing everybody to go up and learn the beam. I have to say they’re going up and trying.”
While vault appears to be a strong point, uneven bars looks like it will be a challenge.
“Uneven bars are always a struggle,” coach Maddalena said. “Everybody wants to do the uneven bars. They keep changing the rules and when they change the rules it makes it harder for high school.”
Coach Maddalena outlined some of the rule changes.
“It’s having to have a release move or different turns,” coach Maddalena said. “When you start uneven bars the first week of December, it’s just not happening. Most of those rules are geared toward the club gymnasts who are in the gym seven days a week and year-round. They’re not geared toward high school gymnasts."
The younger gymnasts will be likely seen on the floor exercise.
“Our three freshmen are all excited and going to learn floor,” coach Maddalena said.
Coach Maddalena said the seniors have been a great help with mentoring the freshmen.
“It’s been huge. They don’t even need to be told, they want to help,” coach Maddalena said. “They’ve been huge because we can’t be everywhere.”
Coach Maddalena said she is hoping that the gymnasts will improve on the disciplines as the year goes on.
“They should be able to improve on each event,” coach Maddalena said. “We hope the seniors who have vaulted in the past will be able to add on and start twisting. We’ve put it out there to our beam people to increase their difficulty and add on to dismounts. The freshmen have to get in and get their feet wet and learn this type of floor. Most of them are cheerleaders and gymnastics is a totally different world. Improvement-wise, it should be leaps and bounds.”
Ridgway has a pair of meets next week before the new year.
“We have two meets next week and then we need the practice time so that will be good,” coach Maddalena said.