The Felines Look to Build on Last Year’s Highs

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Issue 6, Volume 109

By Aki Yamaguchi, Elias Ferguson 

The Felines, Stuyvesant’s girls’ gymnastics team, will hope the upward trend exhibited last year will hold and will try to build upon their personal score record of 106.25, which they set in the PSAL City Championships last year. After finishing in fifth place despite doing their best, their aim this season is to place above Bronx/Manhattan division rival Bronx High School of Science, which narrowly defeated the Felines in both matchups last season.

Last season, the Felines saw an overall increase in performance, having a solid season with 13 wins and a couple losses, most at the hands of Bronx Science. However, the team is confident that they will be able to recoup their losses this year, seeing that Bronx Science lost one of their strongest athletes, a senior who was a level eight gymnast.

This season, the team is “hoping to outscore them with her leaving,” senior and captain Lee-Ann Rushlow said.

Last season’s success was built off of the skilled leadership of three captains—two seniors who have since graduated and Rushlow. These three captains brought the team together and helped the members forge a close bond that will be crucial in this season’s charge for the championship.

With only the two senior captains graduating, the Felines’ roster remains mostly intact. Though Anna Pacheco (‘17) had a big role on the team as one of the co-captains, coach Vasken Choubaralian is optimistic about the approaching season. “I’m very positive and hopeful for the upcoming season because [though] I really only lost one significant gymnast, I gained another gymnast who is a freshman who’s even better than Anna.” He is referring to freshman Agatha Nyarko, who is a level eight gymnast and is able to do saltos, advanced flips in the air, in her floor routines. Rushlow and sophomore Naomi Kanna are the only returning members of the team able to do saltos.

With these skilled gymnasts, Choubaralian’s goals for the team are higher than previous years. A specific area he hopes to improve in is the vault, a weak spot last year, and he hopes to score higher in competitions as a whole. Last season, the Felines consistently hit averages of about 27 points in vaulting, and this year, they will aim to consistently hit the heights they reached in the City Championship—32.10.

When asked which gymnasts would be critical to success this season, Choubaralian named seniors Ruslow, Leah Rosenthal, and Xinyue Nam, sophomores Anya Zorin and Kanna, and freshman Nyarko as some of the critical players who will shoulder much of the burden this season.