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Teammates and parents cheered each Elizabeth athlete as the Cardinals took second place in the team standings at the Oct. 18 Centennial League gymnastics meet held at Ponderosa High School.
Overland won the team title with a score of 184.825 at the meet of eight primarily 5A teams while the Cardinals captured runner-up honors with a score of 176.650.
“We are a young team with no seniors among the 23 girls on the roster,” Coach Stacey Folmar said. “This is an excited, happy team this season and I am pleased with their performance at the league meet.”
She said, while many teams are composite groups with athletes from several schools, the Cardinals gymnasts are all Elizabeth High School students.
“There are about 600 kids at Elizabeth, so we are a 4A team, and gymnastics is a popular sport with the girls,” she said. “Gymnastics is a growing sport for us. For several years we were a small team, but the last four years we have had 20 or more on the roster. We are seeing that increase in participation in gymnastics at other schools, too, like Ponderosa, Overland and all the Jefferson County teams.”
While most Elizabeth athletes play in the Colorado Springs Metro League, the gymnastics team competes in the Centennial League.
The coach said the league meet is a good tune-up for the Oct. 28 regionals, the competition determining qualifiers for the Nov. 2-4 state meet. Regionals for Elizabeth will be held at Overland High School.
“I am excited about the fact we have a whole week of practice before regionals,” Folmar said. “We have had meets every week so I am pleased with the break in competition because it gives us time to work on little things you only can work on in extended practice time. That is important for us because we want to focus on being ready to do our best at regionals and the November state meet.”
Anastasia Buzalsky is a team leader for the Cardinals. She finished second in the all-around scoring at the league meet. All-around gymnasts compete in all four events — vault, balance beam, uneven parallel bars and floor exercises. An individual's scores on the four events are added together to establish the all-around score. Ana George of Cherry Creek won the all-around title with a score of 38.4 and Buzalsky took runner-up honors with a score of 37.7.
“I made gymnastics my favorite sport when I was a little girl because I liked it. I really like gymnastics because you have to have passion, dedication and strength to be able to be competitive,” Buzalsky said. “I like all the events but I think floor exercise is my favorite. I like it because of the skill required and it gives me a chance to show off what I can do.”
The junior said she plans to continue competing in gymnastics next season but, right now, doesn't plan to compete in gymnastics in college.
“I don't want to compete in gymnastics but I want to take the courses so I will be able to teach gymnastics,” Buzalsky said. “I want the little girls to have someone to help them improve their skills as they learn the sport and to be there to help them succeed.”
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