Harwood girls "soar" at competition

  • Published in Sports


By Charlie Brown 

Led by co-captains Annie Johnson, Kylie Aronson and Courtney Melson, the Harwood girls' gymnastic team took on Middlebury Union, U-32 and Middlebury Union High School on February 6. On the uneven bars, sophomore Harley Pecor is the Highlanders' most consistent performer, while Courtney Nelson and Kylie Aronson are most promising in the floor exercises and Francesca Bennett and Melinda Lavery are the most consistent on the balance beam.

Head coach Anissa Touchette is assisted by James Bordeaux, Stephanie Vasseur and Annette Lichtfield. Coach Touchette has been coaching gymnastics for 13 years with the last three as head coach of Harwood girls. The girls have had over 12 meets this year and the state championship will be held at Essex High on February 17.

Last year the girls had eight individual qualifiers but none qualifying as a team. This year the coaches have great expectations that the Highlanders will have several qualifying teams. The team members can compete in all the disciplines or just one or two. "We leave it up to the girls as to what they choose to compete in," said Coach Touchette.
The feel in the gym at the beginning of the meet was reminiscent of a mini-Olympics. The teams marched into the gym, each with their individual units. As they were announced they sort of curtsied to the crowd in unison. It was nice to see their smiling faces and different colored uniforms. They then gathered in team circles and as each team clasped hands in the middle of their circle, they gave out blood curdling yells for their particular squad.

As each discipline got started the girls all shouted out encouragement to their teammates, and also to some of the opposition. It was heartwarming to witness the camaraderie that existed between all the participants. But the most exciting part of the evening was watching as the girls soared in the air as they made their way through the competition...these girls FLY! So good luck in the States, Harwood, we'll be "rooting for ya."
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