Gymnasts face lack of coach and facilities


Senior Kaija Bariss performs a routine during a meet this past winter season. Bariss and the rest of the gymnastics team faced many challenges during the season, including the absence of a coach at the beginning of the year, as well as a lack of training facilities. Provided by Kyle Williams.

Marco Georgaklis, Staff Writer

No coach. Six gymnasts. No buses.

The varsity gymnastics team was able to overcome these challenges and stabilize the precarious position of their program this season.

Entering the season, the team was not sure if their program would continue. Previous coaches had quit only a month before the season, and the athletic department was desperately looking for new coaching. In addition, only three members were signed up going into the season. According to Assistant Athletic Director Kyle Williams, the gymnasts were distraught.

“Going into the season, the girls were concerned about not having a coach or whether they would have a season,” Williams said.

According to captain and senior Carrie Tucker, the team felt set back.

“We had six people on our team this season, which is very small,” Tucker said. “I think it’s one of the smallest teams in the school. We had some issues when people had conflicts because there would be some meets where we only had three or four girls. Hopefully next year the team will have more people.”

Once enough people were found to make a team, the search for a new coach resumed.

“Mr. Rittenberg posted an ad on the MIAA website about the coaching position, but nobody responded,” Tucker said. “At the beginning of the season we still didn’t have any coaches, and it was a scramble to try and figure out the coaching.”

Fortunately, two coaches were eventually found through the gym that the team trains at, Broderick Gymnastics in Hyde Park. According to junior Gracie Boyer, the season only began after winter break. In addition, the team encountered busing problems.

“We needed to find an adult to ride the bus with us because we weren’t allowed to ride without supervision, and the coaches wouldn’t ride the bus with us because they don’t live near Brookline,” Boyer said.

However, once everything was up and running, the team was ready to compete.

“The coaches worked collaboratively together to make sure they got everything covered and we were able to compete in the meets, be part of the league and maintain our gymnastics team for the year,” Williams said.

According to junior Natasha Rinnig, the coaches enhanced the dynamic of the team.

“They were really positive, and they came into it knowing we didn’t have the best team,” Rinnig said.

Despite the team’s success in problem solving, they reached minimal success in competitions, not winning any meets. According to Boyer, the base of the problem was the lack of gymnasts.

“We had a lot less people. A lot of people do gymnastics but don’t do it with BHS because they are scared they won’t get as good coaching,” Boyer said. “Our coaching this year ended up being very good but it just wasn’t certain at the start, so it scared many.”

The lack of gymnasts was also fueled by limited access to gyms during the offseason, according to Williams.

“Brookline doesn’t have a gymnastics gym, a place for girls to do gymnastics, so most of the girls who were on the team this year were going to Newton, Needham, Natick or even to Hyde Park,” Williams said.

However, according to Rinnig, the problems allowed for a more cohesive and friendly team in comparison to previous years.

“I feel the gymnastics team has never really been a strong team,” Rinnig said. “This year more than ever, I feel like we had more fun just because we were a small team with more team bonding.”