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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 13, 2011

Guilderland gymnasts vault over Bethlehem

By Jordan J. Michael

DELMAR –– The Lady Dutch gymnastics team has competed against Bethlehem in three consecutive events, winning each time.

By now, the girls from Guilderland might know exactly what propels them over the Eagles.

“We just train hard and do what we can,” said Katie Govin, who was third in the balance beam for the Dutch with a score of 8.2 at Bethlehem last Thursday. “There’s nothing specific that stands out.”

Guilderland beat the Eagles, 161.40 to 152.10, after finishing ahead of the same team a week prior at the Bethlehem Invitational. Before the Invitational, on Dec. 22, the Lady Dutch beat the Eagles at home, 161.95 to 151.35.

Govin said that competition against Bethlehem didn’t get too repetitive because the venue and overall situation varies each time. “It’s all right,” she said on Monday. “The Invy in between made things a little different. The equipment would change.”

Lady Dutch Head Coach Brenda Goodknight could gauge Bethlehem’s skill level by last Thursday, which allowed her gymnasts to try new things. “The routines aren’t always the same,” she said.

Senior Kara Goodknight, Brenda’s daughter, who finished first in the all-around competition with an overall score of 33.45, has a few friends on the Eagles’ team. “It can be weird going up against your friends,” she said. “But, at the same time, you want to win.”

The Suburban Council has five teams –– Shaker, Guilderland, Shenendehowa, Saratoga, and Bethlehem –– with each team playing the other four twice per season. Throw in a handful of Invitational tournaments and you get a friendly gymnastics community.

“The sportsmanship is pretty good because a lot of these girls see each other on club teams,” Coach Goodknight said. “They’re all working towards the same goal.”

In the most recent victory over Bethlehem, the Dutch were missing Alexa Patnaude and Hailey Marini due to illness. Patnaude and Marini are key contributors to the team, but Guilderland was deep enough to move to 3-0 in the Suburban Council.

“We haven’t had everyone all together in about three weeks,” said Goodknight, mentioning that Naomi Downes was competing for the first time in 10 days.

Goodknight told The Enterprise that she’s had to rely on Kendra Lizotte and Sydney Snyder for big points lately. Lizotte was third overall with 31.70 points after finishing first on vault, fourth on uneven bars, and third on the floor exercise. Snyder came in second on the floor exercise and fifth on the vault.

“I’m focusing on the kids that are here,” said Goodknight, who tries to keep an eye on all 14 gymnasts. “A smaller group will get more individual attention from me.”

Last Thursday’s meet at Bethlehem was subdued and quiet. There were some spectators, but real noises came only from the gymnasts themselves or the music playing during floor exercise routines.

“Nerves aren’t an issue because we have a lot of support,” said senior Jasmine Day, who was second overall in points with 32.70 after a first place on the floor, second on uneven bars, and third on the vault. “We’re a pretty goofy bunch, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The Lady Dutch swept the first four spots in overall points, with Jaclyn Levy in fourth with 31.50. Downes finished with 27.80 and Celeste Munoz had 26.25.

Kara Goodknight said that nerves can get to her sometimes, but she “practices as if everyone is watching.” Goodknight was first in both the uneven bars and the balance beam.

“It’s frustrating when your mom tells you what to do, but she’s just making sure that I’m motivated,” Goodknight said.

Guilderland went to Saratoga on Tuesday for another meet after just finishing two points behind the Blue Streaks at the Bethlehem Invitational.

“I just want to get everyone healthy,” Coach Goodknight said.

Beyond health is the thrill of competition.

“I think tumbling is the closest you’ll ever get to flying,” said Day.

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