Felines Bounce Back to Claim Fourth Place

Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity gymnastics team rebounded from a tough start to the season. They claimed fourth place in Division A of the city, earning their most number of points in 11 years of competition.

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The Felines, Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity gymnastics team, concluded a successful season by claiming fourth place in Division A of the city. They ended the season with a score of 115.425, which is a season high and their highest score in 11 years. This was a major improvement from last year’s fifth-place standing and score of 106.25. After a shaky start to the season, Coach Vasken Choubaralian and the Felines—led by seniors and co-captains Olivia He, Lee-Ann Rushlow, and Xinyue Nam—turned it around. For the first time, Rushlow qualified to be on the New York City All-Star team. This will take part in the State Championships, which is an honor reserved for the top 15 PSAL gymnasts.

The overall season, however, didn’t go smoothly. The Felines lost their first meet to Bronx High School of Science, its division rival. The Felines fell short in every event except the vault. However, the Felines quickly regained their confidence when they defeated Dewitt Clinton High School. The next three games were successes, as the Felines were able to easily win against John F. Kennedy Campus and Christopher Columbus Campus.

Choubaralian believed that the team’s three club gymnasts were the major reasons for the Felines’ strong season. “Everyone was really supportive of them, and that made [him] proud. This is especially because gymnastics seldom has that team feel to it,” he said. He hopes that the good chemistry between the members of the team remains the same next year. Nam also thinks that the team owes its success to the devoted members. “There were so many injuries, mental blocks, and other obstacles throughout the season, but we bested them together,” Nam said. Junior Lianna Huang had to take a break from the team midway through the season due to an ankle injury. “It was definitely a loss because she had worked her way up to being able to do a back handspring on the floor—only about six people on the team have this skill,” Rushlow said. During the first meet of the season, freshman Agatha Nyarko was unfortunately disqualified because of her earrings. The team was able to pull themselves together in the end. Before Nyarko was disqualified, her score of 7.20 on the parallel bars bolstered the overall team score.

The team’s mindset going into the season was “very positive because everyone was excited about the addition of Agatha Nyarko,” Choubaralian said. The co-captains agree that Nyarko has been a huge asset this season. Nyarko will look to lead the team next year after Rushlow, the Felines’ highest scorer, graduates. She believes that next season will be better. She said, “[It’s exciting to see the team] learning new skills and maybe getting the resources it needs.” The lack of resources may have been a big challenge, as the team didn’t have all the equipment they needed. Furthermore, the practice space for this year was small.

The girls are very proud of their performance and improvement this past season, and they are keeping their hopes up for next year. The Felines will lose six graduating seniors, so the underclassmen are determined to do their best and see what is in store for them next year. Some non-seniors who have shown great improvement and dedication to the team this year include junior Camille Sadoff, sophomores Naomi Khanna, Alyssa Yoo, Anna Zorin, and freshmen Nyarko and Ella Krechmer. The seniors are optimistic about the future and believe that the team will become stronger each year. Nyarko remains enthusiastic and is determined to be captain her senior year. “My goals for next year remain the same as this year —to do our best and see where we end up,” Choubaralian said.