The AHS gymnastics team earned eighth in the State Championship at Shrewsbury High School on Saturday, March 3.

The team had been practicing together since December, and while it boasted many returning members, several freshmen enhanced the team with their skills. Dedication is crucial for these gymnasts, who must qualify for several meets before even making it to the State Championship. Team practices are held four times per week at Interstate Gymnastics in Methuen, along with the training for their own gyms clubs, for which they compete year-round.

Making it to States is not something new to this experienced team. Head coach Tracy West said, “The Andover Gymnastics Team has made it to the state tournament as far [back] as I can remember.” West has been coaching for twelve years. “It is always an honor to make the state meet. There are over 100 teams that fight for a spot and only the top eight teams qualify.”

Although the team has come in second multiple years, they have never been State Champions.

One gymnast who is bringing fresh talent to the team is freshman Kayla Gaudette. When not practicing with the school team, she trains at Legends Gymnastics. When asked what getting to States means to her she said, “It means that all our hard work paid off.” Her commitment is not something new, she has been doing gymnastics for eleven years.

Similarly, sophomore Caroline Curtin, who started gymnastics in preschool, practices for twenty hours a week. She is proud of her team’s performance: “My team usually makes it to States every year, but this year especially was difficult because the competition got harder.”

They even defeated their long-time rival. “We beat Central Catholic, and we lost to them before, so we made a comeback,” said Curtin.

The dedication put in by these athletes is not overlooked by West. She said, “[The team members] work hard and challenge themselves throughout the season.”

When asked what role her teammates played in getting to States, Curtin said, “They helped me persevere; they really helped me get that extra tenth up by giving me some corrections.” In this way, friendship not only created a fun atmosphere, but actually helped the team’s score.

By Leah Parrott