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Gymnastics selects varsity team after week-long tryouts

The week of Feb. 4 was torturous for the Paly gymnasts who hoped to represent Paly in the gymnastics community. Tryouts lasted the whole week, starting with more than 20 girls and ending with five members and two alternates.

Team captain sophomore Chloe Finley has been practicing gymnastics for many years; she gets her inspiration for the sport from professional athletes.

“I have been doing gymnastics on and off for a couple years as a kid, but I’ve been doing it continuously for the last two years,” Finley said, “Since it’s something that everyone does as a kid typically, I just did it because my mom and dad thought it was a good thing for me and I really enjoyed it.”

Finley is on the fourth gymnastics team at Paly; the team started at Paly in 2009.

“Most kids dropped out when they were about six or seven but I kept going because I thought it was really cool to see what people could do with their bodies,” Finley said.

Finley has been injured at multiple points, whether it be her bad back or sprained ankle, but after the injuries have recovered to a certain degree, she decided to come back to gymnastics and continue to compete.

“It depends on how motivated you are [after an injury],” Finley said. “For me, I want to keep going and I am very motivated so I just take a lot of Advil and stretch a lot,” Finley said.

This year, the Paly gymnastics team had an unusually big turnout according to Finley because of the lack of a junior varsity team, which forced the coach to take only five people from Paly and two alternates, as well as five people from Gunn High School and two alternates. The Paly team wants to increase its performance level by making key goals.

“I want to see everyone be really satisfied with themselves and perform well in meets,” Finley said.

The final team was decided last Friday, Feb. 8, including Michelle Yin, Sophia Moss, Sharissa Holopainen, Chloe Finley, Maya Ben-Efraim, Tiffany Liang, Victoria Dumas and Mimi Lin.

Finley and Lin are the captains for this year as sophomores because the coach, Michaela Jane, hopes to continue having a strong team for the next three years and is willing to sacrifice this year with a young team in order to have a strong one in the future.

“I am looking forward to getting to know everyone on the team better and bonding,” Finley said. “I am also looking forward to competing.”

Michaela Jane has been the coach for the past four years and though she was hired through the gym the girls practice at, Twisters, she still has a strong connection to the team.

Finley cannot wait to watch the team grow as she improves herself and as the team improves.

“As a team, a goal is to have everyone be happy with their performances and place at competitions,” Finley said.

Finley is excited to have responsibility as captain and looks forward to stepping up to support the team.

“As captain, I will be designing the team jackets, leading warmups and just helping lead the team in order to have a successful season,” Finley said.

Juniors Yin and Moss have been doing gymnastics for the past two years and they are happy to come back for their third year on Paly’s gymnastics team, being on varsity for the first time.

As there is only one varsity team, there are not as many slots on the team for people to fill, so all the members who made the team are excited to devote their time and energy to the team this year.

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