The Columbus East gymnasts had high hopes for this season with all four girls coming back from a team that finished sixth in the state finals.
Injuries to two of those gymnasts, however, have hampered the Olympians’ depth. But that hasn’t dampened their plan of making a return trip to state.
“I think everyone is pretty calm, and they know what’s going to happen this season,” junior Adi Minor said. “It’s going to be a solid season if we can go out there and be consistent. It’s all about confidence. You have to have your mind in the right place, and I think we have a good chance of going to state.”
Minor finished fifth on the vault and tied for sixth in the all-around competition at state last year. Senior Seena Greiwe was the team’s No. 2 gymnast, tying for 19th in the all-around.
The Olympians’ other two varsity returners, are injured. Junior Andrea Stattenfield is taking the year off because of a back injury, and sophomore Abby Lewis recently had wrist surgery. Her return this year is uncertain.
East coach Nancy Kirshman hopes the addition of sophomore Taylor Gaskill can help make up for those losses.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” Kirshman said. “We’re making progress each day. We’re a little thin on the top without Andrea there. But Adi and Seena are strong gymnasts, and hopefully Taylor can buffer that third score.”
Four other gymnasts will look to fill the No. 4 spot. Sophomore Haley Johnson and Lauren Martinez return from last season and will be joined by newcomers in senior twins Kennedy and Reagan Files.
Greiwe thinks the Olympians, who open the season Saturday morning at home against Seymour, have a chance to make it onto the podium with a top-four finish state if they work hard, have no more injuries and have confidence.
“We aren’t where we should be for the end of the season, but you’re not going to be right where you need to be right away,” Greiwe said. “You have to gradually go into things, and I think we’re on the right track.”
Kirshman thinks her team can compete with defending state champion and crosstown rival Columbus North.
“We’re capable of beating North,” Kirshman said. “They’ve lost a major hitter in there when you take away the (graduated Katrina) May girl. There’s nobody on their bottom that can fill those scores, so we’re right there with them.”
The 2017 Columbus East gymnastics schedule:
Tuesday;Franklin Central;6:30 p.m.
Jan. 9;at Columbus North;7 p.m.
Jan. 21;Tri meet;10 a.m.
Jan. 28;at Merrillville Invitational;1 p.m.
Feb. 1;Connersville;6:30 p.m.
Feb. 6;at Bloomington South;6:30 p.m.
Feb. 15;Owen Valley;6:30 p.m.