Women’s Gymnastics Tumbles Into a New Season

By Adam Alexander

 

The Rhode Island College women’s gymnastics team is gearing up for a new season with its third different head coach in four years. Last season left a lot of weary looks on the gymnast’s faces as they had a 2-10 record. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as there will be a new captain on board leading the way in newly appointed Head Coach Tristan Poirier.

 

“I look forward to growing the program, as well as, growing as a coach,” Poirier said when he was hired in October. “I hope to raise the level of competition to the high standards set forth here at Rhode Island College.”

 

 

 

Poirier has nine years of coaching experience, including six years of gymnastics and three years of martial arts instruction. “I am definitely going to try to go back to the fundamentals of gymnastics and really clean up the basics.” Poirier said on his plans for the year.

 

“I feel the team is working well with the new coaches,” sophomore Jessica Greenwald said. “Both of them are working well to cope with us gymnasts by bringing their past gymnastics experiences into the gym.” Poirier has brought in former URI gymnast Jackie Ventre to serve as his assistant. The recent Rhody grad can relate to the daily struggles and concerns of today’s RIC student-athletes and help them to reach their full potential in the gym.

 

 

With only two seniors on the team, with the rest being sophomores, Poirier will have to look at the entire team to stand up and lead, not just a few select gymnasts. “I am counting on everybody as leaders. The team is small, so everyone is going to have to do their part. We are really going to have to work as a team this year.”

 

Poirier will be tasked with building the program from the ground up. RIC is without the services of some of the program’s top competitors over the last couple of seasons. Casey Lesieur, the team’s MVP and lone qualifier to the National Championships, transferred to Syracuse, while all-arounder Julie Pitkin did not return to Providence.

 

However, the cupboard is not totally bare. Although RIC struggled with almost entirely freshmen in the lineup last year, the team gained valuable experience, which should prepare them better for competitions this season.

 

Sophomore Courtney Winsor was second on the team on bars, the most difficult event for most gymnasts, while classmate Kate Bachelder was one of the team’s better beam and floor competitors. Senior Liz Glunt is the most experienced of the nine returnees, having been in the starting lineup since her freshman year. Sophomore Alana Henderson is coming back from a neck injury that knocked her out of the lineup just when her floor routines were progressing.

 

Greenwald, a beam specialist, is eager to start the season. “Being on the team previously, I feel I have an advantage of what is expected this year. The only other thing besides having new coaches to make this season seem different is the new routines and skills I developed since last year.”

 

 

 Sophomore Jessica Greenwald

 

“My goals for this season are to just go out there, compete to the best of my abilities and have fun doing it.” Greenwald said. “I've been training and working hard on getting my routines ready and I feel this season is going to be a season to remember.”

 

Fans will have to be patient with the rebuilding process. With only seven Div. III women’s gymnastics programs in the Northeast, and less than 20, in the entire nation, Rhode Island College goes to most competitions forced to battle Div. I and II teams with scholarship rosters.

 

A season to remember is what everyone is hoping for. With a young team and a new head coach, the Anchorwomen are on the right track to get back to their winning ways. “For goals, we want to win every meet.” Poirier said.

 

Come watch the Anchorwomen at their first meet of the season as they play host to National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) rival Springfield on Jan. 10, 2010 at 1 p.m in the Murray Center.