After winning its first State Championship since 1970, the Andover High School Boy’s Gymnastic Team is ready for another exciting season. Led by captains Brian McDonough, Dan Harvey, and Evan Igoe, the team of nine has its goals set high and wants to continue to improve participation in the program.

On January 16, 2013, the MIAA Board of Directors decided to no longer recognize boys’ gymnastics as a varsity sport, due to a lack of participation. According to BostonGlobe.com, athletes, coaches, former participants of the program, and even Olympians, worked endlessly to petition the Board’s decision and try to reinstate the sport. After witnessing the outpour of support in favor of the program, and holding another board meeting, the MIAA decided to overturn their decision, allowing the boys to once again compete at the state level.

Steve Sirois, coach of the AHS Boys’ Gymnastics team, said the members of the team were shocked by the possibility of losing the program. “A lot of the kids have never done the sport before, and they just couldn’t understand it, so they’re happy that it’s under the bridge, and we’re just going forward with it,” shared Sirois.

Brian Manning, previous Gymnast of the Year and winner of every individual event at States last year, has graduated—leaving the Warriors with big shoes to fill.

Junior Dan Harvey is ready to take on the challenge. “He worked out all summer long to get better, and he’s one of our All-Arounds, so there’s some more points there,” said Sirois.

With the season just beginning and States still months down the road, the team is using every practice to try and improve. Newcomers are already exceeding expectations and learning the ropes of what it’s like to be a member of such a successful team.

“Every day there is progress being made on the team right now, especially with the newcomers,” said Sirois. “I’m impressed with the newcomers because I’m sure they were a little intimidated by the success the team had last year, but they came out and they said, ‘We just wanted to try the sport’ and well, there they are.”

Brian McDonough, a senior who has participated on the team since his freshman year, explained the goals of the team: “We want to get people involved with it, so it’s not really about winning, or the competition. It’s about learning something new that most people wouldn’t want to do.”

As for possibly winning States… “They are just thrilled to be in the gym and doing what they did last year,” said Sirois. “They’re just happy to work out, to work hard, and make progress on the team. They really are.”

If you are interested in joining the team, contact Dan Harvey, Evan Igoe, or Brian McDonough. No experience is necessary!

By Alison Murtagh