By Jake Freudberg
After finishing third at last weekend’s north Sectionals, the girls gymnastics team will compete at the MIAA State Tournament, hosted at Algonquin Regional High School, on Saturday. Denebola had the opportunity to talk with senior captain Laura Hernandez and ask some questions about the upcoming meet:
How has the postseason gone so far?
“The postseason has been going so much better than expected. We kind of knew we were going to make sectionals, but we came in ranked 7th and needed to make top four to make states. We fought really hard at sectionals and tried not to pay attention to the rankings and then not only got top four, but got 3rd!”
How has the team been preparing for states?
“We’ve been practicing consistently and kept upgrading our difficulty. Most importantly, we’re not getting comfortable with where we’re at and keep shooting for bigger goals.”
What is going to be the key to winning states?
“I don’t think we have a chance at winning states but we’re throwing out everything we got. The motto is kind of ‘go big or go home’ here. We have nothing to lose and we’re already really proud of how far we’ve come so we’re just doing what we can.”
What challenges do you face at states?
“We’re facing some really good teams at states, so that will be a challenge. We’re also coming off a lot of people being sick, so we’ll see how well we can do.”
Who are some of the key contributors on the team going to be?
“Sophomore Julie Schoen is definitely a huge asset to the team. She’s a high level club gymnast and she gets some of our highest scores. I do all four events along with her, and that gives us about half our scores. The whole team is really essential. There’s not one person that carries the team and we’ve seen great performances by our freshmen too – freshmen Claire Slack, Danielle DiNisco, and Arielle Cohen Oliveira especially.”
What is it like being one of South’s most successful teams every year?
“We’re really proud to be one of South’s top teams and it would be great to get a little more recognition for that.”
As a senior, how does it feel to be in a position to win another state title?
“I’m so happy to be in another state championships to finish out my high school career. I’m so proud and amazed at what this team has accomplished and to end it with an unlikely qualification to states just makes it that much better. We’ve gone farther than I ever thought we could, especially with such a small team.”