The decisions will be tough this season for Waupun gymnastics coach Jane Neevel, but she’s not going to complain about the situation.
Neevel welcomes a roster filled with talented, experienced gymnasts, including a pair of returning state qualifiers, which has the Warriors setting their goals high as they prepare to open the 2013-14 season tonight at the Sun Prairie Invitational.
“We just have a very strong, deep team,” Neevel said. “Our biggest dilemma is finding who will be in each rotation for our strongest (lineup). That, for us, is the hardest because we are so deep in talent.”
The strength of the Warriors lineup will be highlighted by a talented trio of sophomores in Jasmyn Bensley, Rachel McMahon and Kyra Verheyen.
Bensley in the vault and McMahon on the floor each qualified for state as freshman, while Neevel believes Verheyen would have been there, too, had it not been for a late-season injury that knocked her out of competition.
“I think one thing that has really helped Rachel and Jasmyn is their confidence after making it to state,” Neevel said. “It’s given them some added incentive to work even harder and up their difficulty and their skills.”
The events Bensley and McMahon qualified for state in reflected the strength of the team last season. But a strong offseason has Neevel thinking the Warriors will be better on all four apparatus.
“Our strength last year was definitely in vault and floor so over the summer our girls really worked beam skills and bars skills,” the coach said. “They really knew they needed to up their difficulty in their bars routines and they had to really fight to stay on the beam.”
All three sophomores are expected to be all-arounders for the Warriors this season, along with freshman Sara Kroeze.
The rest of the competitors on each apparatus will likely come from seniors Katy Smit, Nicole Crescio and junior Alexia Dobbratz. Seniors Alexis Schmidt, Yvette Garcia and Cassie Taylor will also be among those competing for varsity spots.
Having so many capable athletes should help the Warriors stay fresh over the course of the season as well as stay healthy as Neevel will be able to rest some athletes from time-to-time and not suffer a big drop-off.
“We’ve had a couple of kids who have been out so were able to let them rest and we should still be quite strong in every event,” Neevel said.
With as much talent as the Warriors have, it’s hard not to think about a trip to the state meet for the entire team this season.
With the group she has, Neevel is confident the squad will be able to take that next step this season.
“Our goal as a team is to make it as a team. That would just be amazing,” Neevel said. “If we can stay healthy, I don’t think there is any reason we shouldn’t be able to make it (to state).”