Photo Courtesy of Nicole Jester
Wakefield’s gymnastics team continues to impress meet after meet with individual talent sparking continuous wins. Outstanding scores from various athletes in all grade levels have shown to carry a competitive spirit. Each practice, each meet, and each connection on the team has helped to build the trust to compete and win. The fall 2018 season was a huge success for the team and couldn’t have gone any better for the lady wolverines.
Embedded in their win of first place at the Conference Championship meet, Ansley Gooding, Sierra O’Neil and Colleen McCann all brought their “A” game to help get their team to the podium. Gooding placed third on bars and all-around, in addition to fifth on vault, beam, and floor. As a freshman, O’Neil placed first on floor and second on bars, beam, and all-around. Seniors Colleen McCAnn and Sonoma Kappel-Knecht also put forth effort to help bring the team on top.
Senior Colleen McCann is one to embrace the team chemistry that the Lady Wolverines have maintained since her freshman year.
“The team was really strong as a whole and we were able to do really well at each meet together,” McCann said. “As a team, we are all able to relate with the sport we love, and we support each other at practices and at competitions”
The following Saturday the Wakefield placed fifth overall at the state championship with freshman Sierra O’Neil placing second on beam, 3rd all-around and fourth on bars. The individual events were outstanding and resulted in Wakefield making a name for themselves within the county.
Sonoma Kappel-Knecht is a senior who considers gymnastics to be more than a sport in her personal life. “I’ve done gymnastics since I was little, and it has taught me how to work hard and persevere,” Kappel-Knecht said. “It’s very tough at times, but it has made me stronger.”
Coach Mariah helped to build a strong bond with the girls throughout the meets that they competed within the Wake County area. She played a vital role in the athletes successful season by being there to help bring the team dynamic to a new level. The seniors, juniors, and underclassmen all loved being coached under Mariah and continue to thrive under her guidance beyond the season.
Knowing her passion since she was a child, sophomore Nicole Jester connects with the sport and her teammates in a different manner.
“We are always laughing and making jokes at practices and competitions,” Jester said. “Gymnastics is something that I have always loved to do, and it is a big part of my life. It’s easy to work hard because I love to do it, and it’s really rewarding to see my hard work pay off.”
This is one season in the books for the Wakefield gymnastics program, but there are many seasons to come. The sport may not be acknowledged to the extent of football or basketball, but the titles that are being earned by these young women can and should be celebrated just as much. Young talent still thrives on the team even after the incredible seniors of the class of 2019 graduate and will result in several more championships for the team.
“We were able to learn new skills, compete new routines and we got first place in our conference,” Jester said, in light of their big victory for this season. “We all get along really well and are super supportive of each other.”