Gymnastics team vaults into action

Photo Courtesy of Amelia Goldstein

Nick Brough
The women’s gymnastics team is putting up solid numbers as they begin their 2017 season. Despite losing their first two meets of the season, things are looking good for the Bears as their season moves forward.

At the start of their season, the Bears took on West Chester University. Although they built up a solid team score, the Bears fell to the Golden Rams 191.050-186.875. In their second meet of the season, the Bears posted another impressive score against the Temple Owls, but again, the Bears fell by another small margin, losing 193.375-189.350.

The gymnastics team has a lot to look forward to in the remainder of the 2017 season. They have several key meets in the near future, which includes a rematch with Temple.

Head coach Jeff Schepers also looks forward to the rest of the season and is pleased with the way things have gone so far.

“The team has started the season on a very good note,” Schepers said. “Our home opener with West Chester went as planned. We had a few mistakes and a few bobbles, but that [is to be] expected for competition [at the start] of the season.”

Schepers had more praise for his team, adding, “This is going to be a very good season. Our experienced upper-class, with their years of college competition, are paving the way to get this team to the NCGA National Championships.”

The squad is led by a strong senior class with lots of skill and talent. The class includes Jillian Casarella, Lauren Chavis, Allyson Getty, and Vanessa Scalora. Captain Jillian Casarella had only words of optimism for the team moving forward.

“Our season has been going really, really well actually,” Casarella said. “We are only two meets into it, but the girls have really done a great job of competing exactly [how] they practice.” We have the opportunity to go really far this season; as long as injuries stay minimal and our girls keep pushing the way they have been, I see huge things coming for our team in the following weeks.”

Casarella also praised her teammates for their hard work and dedication this season. She emphasized how much the team is focused on winning and getting better each week. She also explained the specialties of the team

“A ton of our girls are nationally ranked on bars, beam, and floor, and we are looking to keep it that way as the season progresses,” said Casarella. “Captain Lauren Chavis is ranked very high on bars, along with junior captain Alex Puryear on floor, and myself and junior Kaelin Ruoss on beam.”

Casarella also noted how the coaches have played a big role in motivating and directing the squad to a higher competitive level every practice.

“Jeff Schepers and [assistant coach] Emily Repko come in the gym every single day, ready to work with us and make us the best we can be,” she said. “They are constantly finding ways to better our gymnastics and to do all that they can to put us on the right track toward our ultimate goal of winning Nationals.”

Chavis also expressed her optimism and happiness with the season.

“The first meet is always a tough one because the freshmen [are] new to the feel of college gymnastics, but we [had a] great  start [to] the season,” said Chavis. “After our second meet, the team saw how much we have each other’s backs by fighting to do our best until the last routine of the night.”

Similar to Casarella’s take on how she feels the season will go, Chavis only had words of optimism and confidence.

“We have great depth as well as confidence, and that is truly key in the gymnastics world,” she said. “We have put a lot of hours into routines; as the season continues, we will [continue] to push and motivate each other to be greater and greater.”

The Bears will have their next meet in Philadelphia against the Temple Owls on Saturday, Feb. 4.