Felines Pounce on Successful Season

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“I’m really proud of what we’ve gotten to and achieved so far in the year, and I’m looking forward to a successful and progressive rest of the the season.” —Lee-Ann Rushlow, junior and co-captain

The Felines, Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity gymnastics team, are maintaining a strong season, despite the loss of valuable players who graduated last year. They currently hold a fourth place standing in the Bronx/Manhattan division, one that they held last year as well, missing third place by less than a point. The team has won all but one meet to the Bronx High School of Science, the team’s longtime rival, with a final score of 99.3-102.6. The Felines also lost to Bronx Science at their divisional meet with a total score of 103.3, putting them in second place behind Bronx Science’s score of 115.97.

Despite losing several key seniors who graduated last year, the team has remained on its feet. In their first meet of the season, the lineup was composed predominantly of returning junior and senior athletes, other than freshman Naomi Khanna. “Because the first meet was only about a month and week after the season started, it would be asking too much for any newer girls or less experienced girls to be ready for a competition,” Coach Vasken Choubaralian said.

As the season continued, however, newer gymnasts have been participating in events as well. “We're really lucky to have experienced freshmen Naomi Khanna and Anya Zorin and junior Leah Rosenthal join the team to make up for the three [graduated] seniors,” senior and co-captain Annie Lee said. “Coach Choubaralian always wants to give less experienced girls a chance to compete.”

With Khanna as a strong all-around player and Rosenthal and Zorin obtaining between sevens in the balance beam and vaulting events respectively, the team is using its new members to its advantage and helping to prepare them for next year when some of the strongest players, like senior Anna Pacheco and Lee, graduate.

The team is practicing on fixing more minor errors, where they tend to lose a lot of points. “We're working on really perfecting all our routines because in gymnastics, we get deducted for the smallest details like flexed feet and bent legs,” Lee said. While almost all of the Felines have been participating in multiple events at different meets this season, nearing the end, the team is going to be relying on the returning members.

“As we near the finals, my veterans and my experienced gymnasts will be competing, especially in the finals,” Coach Choubaralian said.

The team hopes to maintain its current fourth place position in the city. While replacing the Bronx High School of Science in third place has always been the team’s goal, it will require a major comeback after the initial loss of more than 12 points to Science. However, they haven’t lost hope and still have several remaining meets. “I’m really proud of what we’ve gotten to and achieved so far in the year, and I’m looking forward to a successful and progressive rest of the the season,” junior and co-captain Lee-Ann Rushlow said. With Science having had success in their season thus far, the Felines have their work cut out for them if they hope to catch any teams in front of them in the division.