Gymnasts vault into new season

New location helps team grow. Trevor Pyle/Staff Photo Annie Atkinson takes a spin on the Trek Gymnastics balance beam during gymastics practice. Atkinson is the most experienced member of this year's NKHS gymnastics team.

“POULSBO – Last year, the bars were missing parts, the quarters were cramped, and wrestling mats doubled for tumbling space. But this year, the North Kitsap High School gymnastics team has moved into Trek Gymnastics Academy in downtown Poulsbo, and the coach and players believe that will make a lot of difference for the growing program. Kris Goodfellow is in her second year as the head coach, but it is her second round of coaching the team. After coaching from 1992-1995, then watching three different coaches take the helm of the team in the following three years, she returned last year. The players are young, but Goodfellow watched their point totals improve in almost every meet. Last year was a beginner season, Goodfellow said. But last year we were lucky in that half the girls had some experience. I was used to girls who could only do cartwheels. Every freshman from last year has returned, Goodfellow said – that’s a half-dozen players. Also returning is the main point-getter and most experienced gymnast, Annie Atkinson. Atkinson is now in her senior year, and is looking forward to it. Last year was fun, Atkinson said Thursday, as the team plunged into their second week of practice. But this year we’re in a better location. Atkinson’s legs are thankful for the change. We have a real spring floor instead of wrestling mats, she said, and a real vault runway. It’s a lot better on the knees and ankles. Atkinson was shy about her impressive point totals last year: I did pretty good, I guess. I had a lot more experience outside of the high school team, which I thinks makes a difference. Atkinson’s goals are equally modest. I just want to enjoy it, she said. It’s my last year. Coach Goodfellow has goals too. Because high school gymnastic teams are rare on Kitsap Peninsula, North Kitsap has only two opponents this year, Bainbridge Island and Port Angeles. Ideally, I’d like to see us beat Port Angeles and Bainbridge, she said. But it would be quite a jump to go from 130 (points) to 150. Goodfellow said the competition is even stronger when it comes time for North Kitsap gymnasts to qualify for state, because they have to qualify against the seasoned talent in the South Puget Sound League. But Goodfellow and assistant coach Tracy Jakum will help the team improve, Goodfellow said, and the location will help. It’s so much nicer than what we had, Goodfellow said. There are a lot of benefits about working here, like access to better equipment. The bars were missing pieces last year, Goodfellow said, resulting in the team not getting a set of bars until mid-December. Wrestling mats doubled as gymnastic mats, which was hard on the gymnasts. And the athletes had to put up and break down all the equipment, which they won’t have to do at Trek Academy. I think it makes a huge difference, Goodfellow said of the move. North Kitsap’s first gymnastics match will be against Bainbridge and Port Angeles at Port Angeles at 7 p.m. on Dec. 7. Their first and only home match will be at 7 p.m. on Jan. 11. “

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