Gymnasts balance new expectations

POULSBO — This year, members of the North Kitsap High School gymnastics team want to announce their presence — to the rest of the Narrows League and to their fans. Last year, the team got a new practice area in downtown Poulsbo, where Trek Gymnastics allows the Vikings to use its gym.

POULSBO — This year, members of the North Kitsap High School gymnastics team want to announce their presence — to the rest of the Narrows League and to their fans.

Last year, the team got a new practice area in downtown Poulsbo, where Trek Gymnastics allows the Vikings to use its gym.

The gymnasts are taking advantage this year with a large, balanced team and four home meets.

“We just want everyone to know that North Kitsap is here,” said freshman Jenne Jones, who coach Kris Goodfellow said will be a big part of the team. “This year is going to be great.”

While the team lost its top gymnast, Anne Atkinson, to graduation, it returns a talented crew that includes Lydia Moore, Tonia Bertsch, Heather Wood, Brianna White, Caitlin Richards, and captain Kaitlin Giles.

Those gymnasts do not compose the whole team; in fact, the team which numbered about 10 members at the end of last season, right now has 24 athletes jostling to compete in events, which coach Goodfellow said will be an advantage for the program.

“We’re a lot bigger,” she said. “And it’s evenly distributed between sophomores, freshman and juniors. There’s a good number of sophomore and freshman, which helps build a team.”

Lydia Moore, one of the top returners, agrees.

“It’s a lot more fun to have a bigger team,” she said. “There’s more people in the gym, more fun, more excitement.”

The non-returning players include Mary Bannon, Angie Bertsch, Susan Burchette, Toni Duchamin, Jacque Dues, Erin Gallagher, Tawny Hildebrand, Jenne Jones, Allison Kelly, Elizabeth Moore, Brittany Murphy, Heidi Myhre, Heidi Nicks, Emily Rice, Jenna Taylor, Rachel Walters, Tess Williams, and Sam Bammes.

Something else that will help build a team is fan support. North Kitsap is sure to have more of that this year, having four home meets as compared to last year’s one.

“It’s a great advertisement for us to have more home meets,” Goodfellow said.

The team opens with a home meet at 6 p.m. Dec. 18 against Bainbridge Island.

Before that, the team gets plenty of work in, working on routines which include bars, beam, floor and vault.

The competition this year will include new Narrows League competition Capital and Olympia, who North Kitsap previously faced only in district meets. The schedule will also include Bainbridge and Port Angeles.

“As the meets progress, I want to see the team scores increase as well as the individual scores,” Goodfellow said. “The trick will be trying to get less-experience girls competing. You want to get them in front of judges as much as possible.”

The girls are looking forward to that, too.

“I’ve done club for three years,” said Jenne Jones. “I’ve always looked forward to high school gymnastics. It’s the only sport I really want to do.”

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