by JADA MINAYA Staff Writer
The Monroe Township High School gymnastics team is not acknowledged by many in the school, but is comprised of many dedicated young gymnasts who deserve more respect and recognition.
Unfortunately, the gymnastics team does not have the many benefits that other sports at MTHS have, such as school transportation. Mothers have to take turns carpooling to the gym at Bishop AHR High School in Edison where the gymnasts practice for about three hours.
Along with having to supply their own transportation, they must also provide their own leotards and sweatpants. The gymnasts and their parents design sweatpants, sweatshirts, and other merchandise for the sport since the school neither provides nor pays for them.
Unlike most other sports in our school, the gymnastics team does not receive support or school spirit. They are not recognized as a “sport” in the school – they are not listed on the “athletics” page of our school website – though gymnastics is definitely a sport.
The team puts together their own Senior Night at the gym, but not many spectators come to support the gymnasts.
“It really isn’t fair that the school doesn’t try to support us more. We work really hard to get where we are and it would be nice if we got more credit,” said sophomore Samantha Magaraci.
During practice, their coach works with not only the Monroe gymnasts, but also the Bishop AHR gymnasts. There are about six Monroe gymnasts and 12 Bishop AHR gymnasts.
“We don’t get as much attention since we practice with the other gymnasts,” said sophomore Jackie Massoni.
Competitions are always held at their home gym since the girls cannot go to the meets that are further away due to lack of school transportation. Out of 10 to 15 meets the girls participate in, three to four of them are competition meets.
First, the girls warm up and stretch for about five to 10 minutes. At this time, they are able to practice each event they are participating in. Then they proceed to compete.
During competition, the Bishop AHR gymnasts perform first, then Monroe gymnasts, and lastly whichever team they are competing against. They perform in Olympic order – vault, bars, beam, and then floor.
Since the girls are independent, there can only be three or four girls competing per event. They must rotate since they all must qualify at least twice on an event with a certain score before going on to sectionals.
The gymnastics team works very hard and is very dedicated to their passion. All sports should be recognized at our school, including our gymnastics team.