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Choreographing the key to gymnastic success

by Alyssa Daley-Executive Editor
Tue, Feb 28th 2017 11:00 pm
Photos courtesy of Brockport Athletic Communications via Flickr
Photos courtesy of Brockport Athletic Communications via Flickr

 Whenever the Summer Olympic Games come around women's gymnastics brings in a large viewership. According to Bleacher Report it is the No. 1 most watched sport of the Olympics and one of the more popular events is the floor. Trampoline and tumbling joined the U.S.A. Gymnastics in 1999 and has since turned into a mixture of dance choreography and the athleticism and skills of gymnastics.

Here at The College at Brockport our gymnastics team has consistently proven its ability to dominate the conference. This year alone, the team has only lost three meets compared to its 12 wins. Our student-athletes have continuously been nominated as Gymnasts of the Week through the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association and only seem to be performing at a higher and higher level.

In floor there are 12 Golden Eagles who compete specifically in this event during meets. Sophomores Kendra Bushart, Meghan Cash and Olivia DeLuca are just three who will be returning next semester and will be expected to fill the shoes of seniors Caitlin Elsadeck and Casey Sullivan. This doesn't seem to be a problem as the team composed of mostly underclassmen continues to outshine older teams in the Division III NCGA conference.

Developing the floor routines each gymnast performs during meets begins with choosing a musical piece that the gymnast herself feels passionate about.

"We pick our music based on our own personal tastes, and how much fun it will be to do at a meet,"  junior Bridgette Schaal said. "More upbeat music choices and routines entertain the judges and the crowd more than others and will typically score a little higher. Tumbling really just depends on the person, it doesn't have a ton to do with the music!"

When judging the event there are certain requirements that need to be fulfilled by the skills the gymnast and her coach decide to include in the choreography of the routine but the judges also looking at how well those skills are executed combined with the artistry and dynamics displayed in the performance.

According to NBC, the height, angle and form of both the jumps and leaps as well as the tumbling skills are what can make a big difference on whether a gymnast is given a 15.733, which is an A score on the A+ to F point scale or a 14.855 which would be a B.

What is most unique about competing on the floor is the amount of artistry you are able to perform by choosing skills which form together to create a dynamic choreography that not only shows the skillset of the gymnast but also her ability to give in to the feel of the piece of music she chose.

Just as every song has its own mood and message, so does each routine. Each shows a bit of the respective gymnast's personality in the way she delivers the performance and the specific techniques/forms she chooses to use over others to complete the choreography to that show emotion while executing perfect back handsprings and front tucks.

Although the coaches, like Brockport's Head Gymnastics Coach John Feeney are important to the routine's development, student-athletes like junior floor gymnast Brittany Vasile, feel competent in performing skill-wise but also with what they feel they want to tell through their performance.

"Floor is fun because it's you. It's hard to put your personality into the other events but floor is all about your personality, and that's what i love about it," Schaal said. "It takes a lot of hard work but there is nothing more fun than competing a floor routine that shows off your personality."

In the Golden Eagles' latest invitational Sunday, Feb. 26, the team went up against Ithaca College, Ursinus College and Rhode Island College and came away an overall second place finish.

On the floor junior Bridgette Schaal lead her fellow Golden Eagles with a score of 9.675 which bodes well for Brockport next year as well as for the rest of this season.

"My floor routine right now is the most fun I have ever had," Schaal said "I have the time of my life when I'm competing it because it is so me and my teammates always do it with me which is the best thing to see when you're competing."

In gymnastics the floor is where the art of dance meets the gymnastic skill set and it seems like the Golden Eagles have choreographed their own key to success.



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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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