Felines Get Off to a Sluggish Start Against Rivals

The Felines lost their first meet of the season to division rivals Bronx Science, losing in every event except the vault.

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By Zoe Oppenheimer

The Felines lost their first meet of the season to their division rivals, The Bronx High School of Science, losing in every event except the vault. The team is taking this loss with a grain of salt, however, seeing that the Bronx Science team won each event by only a slim margin and was aided by the disqualification of a Stuyvesant gymnast.

Though the meet was ultimately a disappointment for the Felines, who hoped to start their season on a positive note, the win over Bronx Science in the vault represents serious improvement in the category. Coach Vasken Choubaralian described vaulting as one of the focuses for improvement early on in the season, and the performance against Bronx Science is a step in the right direction.

Despite the loss, senior and captain Lee-Ann Rushlow was a standout performer for the Felines. “Lee-Ann did really well [in] a strong day all around,” Choubaralian said. Rushlow led the Felines in every event except for the uneven parallel bars, where she was the Felines’ second best performer behind freshman Agatha Nyarko. Rushlow especially stood out on the vault, impressing coach Choubaralian. After the meet, he said, “Lee-Ann got a 8.20 on vault, which is a very good score.” Rushlow’s 8.20 was the top vault score in the whole meet by a considerable margin of 0.40 points.

Nyarko gave a strong performance for her first PSAL meet, performing well on the parallel bars. Coach Choubaralian said, “Agatha scored really high on bars, [getting] a 7.20.”

However, Nyarko’s performance was not without blemish. She was disqualified during her balance beam event. “On beam, Agatha was expecting a high score,” he said. “[But an official] noticed she had earrings and disqualified her so we couldn’t count her score.” Though it was a blot on her record, her excellent performances in other events dulled the blow to the Felines’ score.

Sophomore Naomi Khanna also had what Coach Chubaralian described as a good day, consistently sitting just behind Rushlow in most events. This year’s captains, seniors Xinyue Nam, Olivia He, and Rushlow all agreed that the team surpassed expectations going into Wednesday’s meet. Nam mentioned that the team broke “100 at their first meet, [scoring] 106.4 even with one of the beam scores disqualified.” They all can also conclude that both the newbies and the returning members are all stepping up to replace the graduated girls as the team has many skilled gymnasts this year. The team’s next goal is to get “newbies competing so they can get into the hang of things [and making sure to] perfect form to maximize point gain,” He said.

For the future meets, Choubaralian will make sure the performances are implemented more smoothly and are up to grade with all the requirements. Some of the girls are in clubs outside of school and are working on integrating different skills into their PSAL routines in order to maximize their points. However, the team is confident that higher scores are well within reach and that the opportunity to lead the division is still on the table.