Photo by Terra Koontz and Jade Gurule

Photo by Terra Koontz and Jade Gurule

There are so many ways for students at Chaparral to stand out and showcase their talents. The schools of Douglas County may be rivals on the football field and the basketball courts, but when it comes to the gymnastics apparatus all schools come together to compete in a co-op team against other districts across Colorado. The gymnastics team is full of talented girls from schools such as Chaparral, Legend, Castle View, Ponderosa, Douglas County, and Colorado Early Colleges. They all meet in the Ponderosa wrestling room from 3:45 to 6:00 where they put their blood, sweat, and tears into perfecting all four events. They set up the apparatuses, vault, bars, beam, and floor, in the wrestling room. Given their circumstances of a small gym, each girl makes the most of it and puts in 100% effort and works hard to create a team full of champions. Becoming one with all the schools may be hard, but for head coach Lisa Fischer it has come naturally for her to create a safe and welcoming environment for all students. Gymnastics is just as much a team sport as it is individual and the hardest part about coaching a sport like this, is “coaching gymnasts who do not understand the team concept,” explains Fischer. Coming from rival schools can be a challenge for any team but these girls handle it with poise and responsibility. They are a family built of many different people so when it comes to competition, it doesn't matter what school each girl comes from, they make it a priority to work hard and give it their best while cheering on for each other.Throughout the season, seniors on the team such as Katherine Compton and Cassie Minnie organize team bonding practices and events that create trust and friendship amongst the whole team. At the beginning of the year all gymnast participate in a fundraising event where they open the gym for younger children. They get the chance to be coached by high leveled athletes and the gymnast learn more about team bonding skills. Also, since the competition season is near the holiday season, games like white elephant and secret santa are always played. The girls on the team all have different ranges of experience and have been apart of the high school team for different lengths of time, but they all learn to work together and become a family. After being on the team for a total of three years Katherine Compton explains that, “high school gymnastics is very much a team sport, so I get to know all of my teammates really well. The support system I have with all of them is helpful”. Gymnast Ashley Gunter joined the high school team just this year and says that she loves competing on a co-op team because of “meeting new people outside of school and being friends with everyone.” Cassie Minnie, a senior here at Chaparral explains that she’s “been apart of the Chaparral gymnastics team for 4 years.” Starting during her freshman year, student Cassie Minnie knew that she wanted to continue her gymnastics career on the high school team. Although gymnastics is very much a team sport, each gymnast individually has their own favorite and least favorite events. There are the vault, the bars, the beam, and the floor, and it’s very rare to find a gymnast who loves all four. “My favorite event is beam. I love beam even though it’s one of the harder events. I love the challenge of doing hard flips and tricks on a 4 inch beam 4 feet in the air. I like the difficulty of it, especially when I can execute my beam routine perfectly,” says Minnie. Gunter says beam is her favorite event as well, because “it’s really fun to try new skills and to have the adrenaline rush from making that new skill for the first time on such a hard event.” For Compton however, floor is the number one event. “It is so fun to perform at competition and I love how my teammates do my routine along with me,” exclaims Compton. Fischer shares a love for floor as well. She loves coaching all events, but floor gives her the biggest rush. Due to the fact that the team isn’t specifically designated to one school, and they only practice at Ponderosa and compete at Ponderosa as well as other districts schools, not many students, here at Chap especially, are aware that we even have a gymnastics team. Coach Fischer does wish the team had more support “at times,” but she knows “it is hard when our gym is small.” So, girls of Chaparral have taken it upon themselves to inform the school this year by using Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat as a way of sending PSA’s to their peers. Each gymnast posts information regarding time, location, and any other information for their peers. This year’s season is over, but the girls work their butts off to promote and make an amazing gymnastics team, so get ready to go to next year’s competitions starting in September!

Story by Terra Koontz and Jade Gurule

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