By: John Raffel
Rockford a state gymnastics contender
Rockford is hoping to emerge as a state contender again in gymnastics after finishing third last season. Lowell finished 13th last year.
Rockford had won three state titles prior to last year. Grand Ledge
East Lansing, Fowlerville, Haslett and Holt also have gymnastics teams.
Michell Ankney is coaching the Rockford team which was also conference and regional champs last year. Rockford was conference champs, regionals champs and had five gymnasts place individually at state.
“No seniors graduated,” Ankney said. “Most of the team has returned.”
Key performers will be senior Reagan Ammon, Chantel Lokers and Taylor Cullen, and juniors Averi Nixon, Ashley Faulkner and Nicole Curtis and freshman Joey Gair.
“All of these gymnasts train all around and could step in on any of the four events as needed,” Ankney said. “ I expect the team to have a strong season. They have been working hard in the last few months to prepare for our season starting in a couple of weeks. Floor and beam tend to be our strengths. I think we have made some improvements on the vault as well. We are still and may always be working on improving our bars. It is a tough event, and we hope to continue to get stronger at it.
“We hope to be strong in our conference. We don't know what our conference looks like at this point in time, but we are hoping to come out strong.”
GRAND LEDGE COMETS
Duane Haring hopes to have a competitive team at Grand Ledge.
“Samantha Hetzer was unfortunately injured for the whole season last year although in past seasons she helped the team as much as she could with her skills,” Haring said. “As a young team we are still working and do not know our key players yet. We think that every person on the team plays a key role in our success not only this season but in seasons to come. Expectations for this season are that we win conference meet as a majority of a team of freshman. We also would like to show that we are strong not only as a team but as a sisterhood.
“Our team’s strengths are holding each other accountable and uplifting each other during practices and meets. We are also getting very strong on specifically beam and floor. As a freshman team, we believe we are making a mark in the gymnastics community. Some things that the team can work on are upgrading our skills faster and competing them.”
The Comets could very well be conference contenders
“Our conference has been downsized this season,” Haring said. “We consider Fowlerville to be a favorite and we are going to try our best to compete against them this season. We see our team as a part of the top three in the conference. This year is a big learning year for us as a mostly freshman team. We believe that we could do big things in the future.”