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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, January 15, 2009
Dutch gymnastics trying for a perfect dismount
By Jordan J. Michael
GUILDERLAND The slate looks clean for the Guilderland gymnastics team as it formulates a plan to beat troublesome menace Saratoga.
“The ultimate goal is to beat Saratoga in sectionals,” said Head Coach Brenda Goodknight. “We have a history of losing to them and its pretty frustrating. We were undefeated two years ago and they beat us. I hope this is the year it changes.”
The Lady Dutch finished second to Saratoga in sectionals last season and faces them twice before sectionals this year. “My team is really dedicated right now and continue to train hard,” Goodknight said. “They handle the stress quite well.”
The team hosted the Suburban Council Invitational on Dec. 30 and Sydney Snyder placed first on the vault with a score of 8.05. Kendra Lizotte had a score of 7.05 to take first place on the uneven bars.
“Invitational meets don’t have team scoring, so it’s more about the individual,” said Goodknight. “Its excellent practice for my girls.”
Guilderland beat Shenendehowa on Jan. 5 by the score of 163.4 to 158.5. Alexa Patnaude took the top spot in uneven bars with an 8.80. Kara Goodknight and Kristi Russell placed first in balance beam and floor exercise.
Brenda Goodknight told The Enterprise that Shenendehowa was up a couple of points after the balance beam was through. “We secured the win with the floor exercise,” she said. “We took four of the top five places. Floor exercise is our strength.”
The Lady Dutch went on to beat Shaker on Jan. 8 and then traveled to Saratoga for an invitational where it had a strong showing. “Things seem to be running smoothly right now. We’re in a comfortable spot,” said Goodknight.
Corinne Chatnik and Corinna Goutos are the only seniors on the team. Jasmine Day, Cat Diamante, Katie Govin, Celeste Munoz, Patnaude, Russell, and Skyanne Wilson are the other seven returning athletes.
Michaela Casells, Snyder, Lena Rotella, Kendra Lizotte, Clare Levy, Jaclyn Levy, and Goodknight are new members to the team. Casie Girvin is most likely out for the season with a broken arm.
“I have a nice mix of talent on the team and we continue to improve,” Goodknight said. “Girvin’s injury was a freak accident and really unfortunate. She fell off the bars during practice. I was counting on her to be a top performer this year, so it definitely hurt.”
Coach Goodknight told The Enterprise that Patnaude is her top all-around performer and one of her best vaulters. “She’s a two time state qualifier. She went for vault and uneven bars last year,” said Goodknight. “She has a good shot for all-around at states this year.”
Even though Kara Goodknight is new to the team, she’s having quite the time on uneven bars, according to her mother. “She’s surprised a lot of people, including me,” said the coach. “Bars are the hardest event. It’s tough for the girls to build strength and pass all the requirements.
“The athletes need to complete a release element, dismount, bar change, and a handstand,” Brenda Goodknight said. “Patnaude does a full twist dismount. It’s very difficult.”
The Lady Dutch could have a handful of girls go to states this year. Russell went for floor exercise a year ago, Goodknight is looking strong on bars, and Diamante worked the balance beam in states last season.
“I expect my returning girls to do the same, if not better, than a year ago,” said Goodknight. “It would show a steady improvement for my team.”
Most of Goodknight’s athletes train year round because that’s the only way to stay with the sport. “It’s not like riding a bike, you can’t just pick it up and ride,” Goodknight said. “I’ve seen girls fall off track because they weren’t practicing enough. Gymnastics relies on consistency.”
For now, the focus remains on the six remaining league meets and Saratoga.
“I really hope this is the year,” said Goodknight. “My girls have come too far to get downed by Saratoga yet again.”