Post Classifieds

Gymnasts work towards Nationals under new role

By Joshua Ryan
On February 17, 2012

The last three years have brought a lot of change to the University of Bridgeport women's gymnastics team. Three consecutive USAT Women's Gymnastics Championships have put the program in the top tier of Division II women's gymnastics programs.

However, this recent success has changed the dynamic of the team. Head coach Byron Knox said that when the team competed in the championships in Florida in previous years, the team was virtually unknown. That is not the case anymore.

"We're the ones with the target now," Knox said.

 That target figures to be amplified, as this year's championships will be taking place at UB. Knox said that he feels being the hosts has increased the team's motivation to return to the championships and that it has affected the way they view their competitions.

"Every competition now, we've been trying to simulate what it would be like in the championship round, and be behind in points or ahead in points," he said.

The team has gotten off to a very solid start this year, posting three wins in their first five events. They also managed to post a school record team score in their win over Towson University.

Yet, Knox feels the team has gotten off to an uneven start in terms of their vaulting and beam skills, and that work still needs to be done on the uneven bar.

One player who said that she personally needs to improve is senior Carolyn Colon, who missed half of last season with an ankle injury.

"So far I've struggled a little bit, but I'm trying to make sure I can make a comeback," Colon said.

Another of the challenges the team has faced up to this point has been trying to incorporate all of the new players into the system. This year's team features seven freshmen and one transfer. However, Knox said he's gotten a lot more out of the new players than he expected, and he named Sasha Tsikhanovich, Lissette La Fex, Caitlin Perry and Alex Oringer as standing out in particular.

Perry, who specializes in vaults and floor, said that it's been a bit of an adjustment period for her so far.

"It's definitely more of a team sport now, because in club gymnastics, it's more of an individual (sport), but now it's more like a team, everyone depends on you and you depend on everyone else," Perry said.

Colon said she and the other veterans on the team have been trying to help the new players get adjusted to the nuances of college gymnastics, by doing certain parts of their routine all together.

While the season is still early, the team has two main goals in mind for the rest of the season: winning the championship again, and advancing to the NCAA Regionals, which would be a first for the team. Knox believes that they are the only ones in their way.

"It's all about how we perform under pressure, and what we do on the floor against the bigger schools." he said.

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