Gymnastics return after year-long hiatus

By Allison Detloff, Staff Writer — It’s back.

GlenOak has a gymnastics team, after not having one last school year. The season is just starting but, as of right now the team consists of 16 gymnasts, which may change slightly. The team is coached by Karen Laursen who is also teaching nursing with the career tech program.

The high school did not have a gymnastics team last school year, 2013-2014, but there was a team during the 2012-2013 school year.

“I was told that there weren’t enough gymnasts interested in participating to have a team. This year we have plenty of interest,” Laursen said.

The resurrected gymnastics team has attracted not only girls that have been involved in gymnastics before, but newcomers as well.

“I like to try new things and it seemed like a lot of fun. I’m excited to learn new things and have fun with friends,” first time gymnast sophomore Noelle Autore said.

The girls will be practicing at the North Canton YMCA Gymnastics Center until their invitational meets, Jan. 17 and 30 and hopefully more after.

“We do have two competitions in January and based on the results of those two meets, girls can qualify for Sectionals and then Districts,” Laursen said.

The absence of a team last year has affected how the team will compete this year. In the previous years, they had a longer season.

“Due to not having a team last year, we have been taken out of the Federal League so we are competing as an independent team. That means we have fewer competitions and a smaller season,” Laursen said.

In order to be back in the Federal League, there are some things that the team must do. They will not be able to be a Federal League team this year, but they will be looking into becoming one after this season.

“To get back in the Federal League we have to prove we have interest in the program, pay dues, attended meetings, be able to host meets, and apply to be in the league well before the season is starting,” Laursen said.

The coach hopes this year will be an exciting year for the gymnasts.

“I am most excited to see the gymnasts overcome challenges. Gymnastics is about pushing yourself to be better as an individual and as a team and I can’t wait to see that develop in each of the GlenOak gymnasts,” Laursen said.

[Updated Aug. 8, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]