First-year head coach Alison Vance is looking to grow the gymnastics program.
For the Whitman-Hanson Regional High gymnastics team, there are a few things it wants to accomplish this winter.
“Our goal this season is to continue to grow our program, familiarize ourselves with the complex rules of high school gymnastics and have fun while doing it,” said first-year head coach Alison Vance, who inherits a club that finished 2-13 last season. “If we sprinkle in a few wins here or there, we will be thrilled.”
Vance has already begun chipping away at those goals. After Middleboro decided to split from it co-op with W-H, there was some fear that W-H wouldn’t be able to field a team after boasting just six girls last winter, only four of whom were set to return. However, after a grassroots push on social media and through word of mouth to spread knowledge about the program, 10 girls turned out for the team.
Senior captain Sarah Bombardier keys the Panthers this winter. She led the team with a 31.69 all-around meet average last season.
“We anticipate she will be [our high scorer again],” Vance said. “She is a former competitive gymnast who isn’t afraid to try new skills. She has a lot of natural gymnastics talent.
Junior Madison Scaccia also captains the team.
“Madison will compete on floor, vault and beam again this year,” Vance said. “She has been working hard to make her routines more competitive.”
Freshman Riley Getchell and junior Savannah Poirier, who captained the cheerleading team
this fall, should also contribute on a nightly basis.
Vance said one of the tweaks she has made this year is rotating the all-around positions, which each team is allowed two at each meet.
“Generally, teams use the same two girls to fill those roles,” Vance said. “However, this year we have four girls that could potentially compete all-around. We are planning to switch it up from time to time to see if that helps improve our scores.”
Vance said regardless of how her team fares, her expectations won’t change.
“I expect the girls to always give 100 percent,” she said. “I expect them to be respectful of myself, their teammates and their competitors. I expect them to be positive and proud of their accomplishments, big or small.”
The Panthers are back in action Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m. with a meet against Hingham and Marshfield at Massachusetts Gymnastics Center in Pembroke.
“I want to see these girls continue to work hard to upgrade their skills,” Vance said. “I want them to shake off the nerves of their first meet and come back from winter break ready to go.”