Gymnastics prepares for competition, starting season in San Francisco


Update Apr. 5, 2012: Paly has canceled the meet next Tuesday at Lowell High School, due to insufficient equipment at Lowell  and the delayed arrivals of team leotards. Paly’s first meet will now be at Gymtowne on Wednesday, Apr. 18.

With only one week left until their first meet, Paly’s gymnasts have started moving into competition mode, putting the finishing touches on routines.

Cross-town rivals Paly and Gunn will actually band together for most of the season, competing and training together for most meets. Gunn has more varsity gymnasts than Paly does, but Palo Alto co-captains Sophie Jorasch (’12) and Sarah Miller (’12) will hold the floor for the Vikings. Jorasch finished 13th all-around and fifth in floor last season at CCS and Miller finished 31st on beam.

Varsity gymnasts get much more lenience when choosing their routine for each event – the girls get to craft their own floor, beam, and bar routines, though many recycle routines from club gymnastics or previous years. Very rarely do the gymnasts present more than one routine on each event per season, as high school gymnastics does not require the compulsory and optional routine combination that elite gymnastics does. For vault, varsity gymnasts perform a front handspring, the USA Gymnastics (USAG) Levels five and six compulsory vault.

Shiri Arnon ('14) stretches her bridge in warm-ups at practice. Arnon has a high potential to score well on bars this year.

Varsity girls are also responsible for designing the JV floor routine. This year, Jorasch and Miller created a routine set to a LMFAO mix that fulfills the USAG Levels four and five requirements. In general, JV girls perform at the USAG Levels three through five standards (except for the USAG Level four compulsory vault, a handspring flatback on a mat) while Varsity girls perform at the Levels six through eight standards.

Paly’s team this year has grown thanks to the addition of seven freshmen and the absence of any graduating seniors last year. As a result, the JV team has expanded to include around 25 girls, and more girls will present all-around, leaving Paly with more chances to score high at the JV level. Jorasch and Miller will still be the only two girls competing varsity for the beginning of the season, but some JV girls who are able to perform the Varsity vault may join the two at Leagues in just that one event.

JV gymnast Noa Braun (’14) has thinks the team this year holds greater potential because of the greater number of girls.

“I think we have an increased potential from last year, especially because our team has gotten larger, which means that we have more people to compete,” Braun said. “We are stronger as a team.”

Head Coach Ericka Fusilero and Assistant Coaches Suzie Hackstedde and Michaela Guillory have been working with the team that just seems to keep on growing, hoping to put more girls on Varsity, even if they only present on one apparatus.

Arnon practices a cast in preparation for a squat-on.

The girls will step on the competition floor for the first time this season Wednesday, Apr. 18 with Gunn, Mercy, Lowell and St. Francis against Burlingame at 5:30 p.m.

Below are the JV routine requirements. Contact Suzie Hackestedde or Ericka Fusilero if you are interested in competing for Paly next year. 

JV Bars:

Kip (optional, can present with kickover or pullover), back hip circle, front hip circle, mill circle, cast squat-on or pike-on, jump to high bar, long hang kip or long hang pullover, counterswing (hips to 30 degrees), and undershoot or half turn dismount (USAG Level 4 and 5)

JV Floor:

Dive cartwheel or roll, combination jump, leap sequence, roundoff or front handspring, handstand rollover, cartwheel or back walkover, full turn, and a roundoff back handspring or back extension (USAG Level 4 and 5)

JV Beam:

Leg swing mount with half turn, V-sit, half snap turn, leap, weight transfer, scale hold, handstand, cartwheel or forward roll, two pivot turns, stretch jump and other jump (straddle, wolf, split, sheep, in combination), half turn, handstand quarter turn or roundoff dismount (USAG Level 5)

JV Vault:

Handstand flatback on a mat (USAG Level 4)