Gymnasts pay close attention as their coach demonstrates the next exercise during pre-season training.  All Sweetwater District schools train together at the Chula Vista Youth Center.  PHOTO by Victoria Esquivel.

Gymnasts pay close attention as their coach demonstrates the next exercise during pre-season training. All Sweetwater District schools train together at the Chula Vista Youth Center. PHOTO by Victoria Esquivel.

 

By Sharlett Ramos

For 11 years, Coach Ronald Mazer has prepared an average of 50 girls for the Sweetwater Union High School District Gymnastics Team, three out of the 50 girls being  from Bonita Vista High School. The gymnastics team coached under Mazer, is a team made up of not only students from Bonita, but also from other schools the Sweetwater Union High School District, forming smaller school teams as well as a district team.

“It’s the Sweetwater Union High School District team and it’s all of the schools combined. They make one team and compete in all the different events, you either compete in  JV or varsity,” Bonita Vista gymnast Cameron Gregg said.

For the majority of the year, the gymnastics girls are part of the district team. However, there is a team that consists of only Bonita girls, and they represent Bonita Vista High.

“If you get to California Interscholastic Federation then you represent Bonita but if [you don’t] then you’re [a part of the] Sweetwater High School District team,” Gregg said.

The qualifications to make the team are not extensive, but they are demanding.

“Everyone that is willing to go through the season, anyone that is willing to go through the strenuous workouts, and has the skill [can join the team],” Mazer said.

The gymnastics season, although it is back-breaking, it has different periods where the gymnast can showcase their skills and later move onto competition.

“The preseason is more for gaining your skills before they have tryouts. During tryouts they  have you show your skills, then they put you in the team. Whether you have your skills or not you keep working on them [all year]. Then starting in March or early May competitions start,” former gymnast for Bonita Jaelynn Davis said.

The team is one district team due to the lack of girls participating at each school. They also lack funds for each school to have the facilities that gymnastics teams need.

“To set up a gym for gymnastics it costs about $80,000 worth of equipment. And it’s hard to have every school have the equipment, especially when you don’t have the interest, right now, of a large team. Then we have to compete for a place to practice and to set up all that equipment takes a lot of space,” Mazer said.

While finances are a problem for the team, another issue is getting the word out about the team.

“The hardest thing is having girls aware that there’s a high school gymnastics team,” Mazer said.

Many students at Bonita have little to no knowledge of the gymnastics team at our school. For this reason, the gymnastics department has altered their forms for recruiting members in hopes of gaining more gymnasts.

“We put up posters around the school prior to the season, during the season, and preseason, we ask the schools to announce it anyway they can,” Mazer said.

Mazer hopes to continue the gymnastics program and aims to have a better focus on each individual team in the district.

“Eventually that’s what we’d like to have. Separate teams of each school, but because of the expense for the equipment we’ll still have a consolidated team for as far as coaches, and as far as a place to practice for each school to compete against each other,” Mazer said.

The more realistic change that Mazer hopes to accomplish this upcoming season is in adding more members to the team.

“Hoping to have more girls from every school, that would be a great change,” Mazer said.

Although that spectrum is not yet accomplish, the gymnasts are excited to be a part of the sport.

“I enjoy it because I love gymnastics, and there was a good group of people around me,” David said.