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Gymnastics 'Stick it to Cancer' with win over Cortland

by Bridgette Babb - Copy Editor
Thu, Feb 21st 2019 03:00 pm
Before the meet, Brockport's gymnastic team lined up next to the Cortland squad in honor of hosting the annual `Stick it to Cancer` meet.
Before the meet, Brockport's gymnastic team lined up next to the Cortland squad in honor of hosting the annual "Stick it to Cancer" meet.
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The definition of a team is “coming together to achieve one common goal.” The College at Brockport gymnastics team however, is more than that; they are a family. On Saturday Feb. 16, the tight-knit team crushed the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons while simultaneously celebrating its Golden Eagle seniors. 

The Golden Eagles won the meet 190.00-184.025 against Cortland, giving the team a 9—2 record on the season. Led by head coach John Feeney, the team controlled the leaderboard immediately, starting with a 47.975 against Cortland’s 45.000 on the vaults. Both teams were extremely supportive as each participant went to perform. Brockport’s senior gymnast Candis Kowalik received the highest overall score on vaults with 9.75. 

Both teams did a practice round before each of the four events. Before each player started, assistant coaches and Feeney gave them a pep talk and motivated them. Quotes like “make progress, not excuses,” and “the voice in your head that says you can’t do it is a liar” echoed around the room. Junior Kimberley Musall spoke about how encouraging coach Feeney is.

“Feeney always tells us, no matter how we do in a meet, to always smile,” Musall said. “Everyone makes mistakes because we aren’t perfect but that’s okay. The point is to have fun and enjoy what you do.”

The bars score was close, with Brockport beating Cortland 46.600-45.625. Rachel Doll grabbed the third place score in the round with a 9.375. 

Any struggle witnessed in the practice rounds was nonexistent as each gymnast received full support from the onlookers. Aside from the audience, teammates rooted on the sidelines, shouting phrases like “you got this!” and “get it done, let’s go!”

Beams and floor routines were done simultaneously, with Brockport taking to the beams first. Musall broke a personal record, earning a 9.625 in the section. 

Floor performances came with flavor, as each person put in their own personal flare. There was no competition, with Brockport posting a score of 48.375 to Cortland’s 47.450. Musall and senior gymnast Taylor Keough tied for first on the event, earning a pair of 9.750’s.

Athletic trainer Erin Chapman admired the resilience of the women on the team. 

“We have a strong class each year,” she stated. “For these girls to start in October and not end till March, doing 3 hour practices 4 times a week, is inspiring.”

The Brockport gymnasts sported pink bows in their hair in support of their second annual ‘Stick it to Cancer’ fundraiser. All proceeds will be directly donated to Golisano Children’s Hospital. The team held various raffles to win gift cards and baskets from local stores such as Jimmy Z’s, Salvatore’s and Perri’s Pizza.

The gymnasium mirrors sported posters with photos and quotes from all the upcoming graduates. Announcers acknowledged the Cortland seniors before getting to Brockport’s gymnasts. Parents came up one by one with cut out posters of their child, along with flowers and little gifts. Each senior was gifted a blanket with a picture of them performing on it, with the words “Soar High.” Senior Kayleen Burns reflected on her time as a Golden Eagle. 

“This journey has had its ups and downs,” Burns said. “I’ve made so many memories, and knowing that I have my sisters [teammates] for the rest of my life makes everything better.”

She expressed her utmost love for the women, saying she would keep in contact with all of them because they were now family. 

From the opposite point of view, junior gymnast Courtney Kamberalis will miss the senior girls, since they make up such a large portion of the team. 

“We have all said we are going to miss them so much,” Kamberalis said. “They have been amazing leaders for our team this year.”

The Golden Eagles will compete again on Sunday, Feb. 24 when they travel to Ithaca, NY to take part in the Ithaca College Invitational.