The Bainbridge High gymnastics team held its annual end-of-season awards dinner last week, and Marielle Summers, Heidi Franz and Sarah Rice won the “best attendance” award.
Coach Cindy Guy said the honor is actually a coach’s award, given that the other awards are made after a vote of team members.
That said, good attendance is always the start of something great, and Guy noted the devotion of Summers, Franz and Rice through the season.
“They are some of the hardest workers,” Guy said.
“I just believe that if you’re committed to the sport, then you don’t miss practice,” she added. “I like to reward the kids who come every day.”
In other awards, Rice won Best Beam. Summers earned an honorable mention.
The honor is bestowed upon the gymnast with the least amount of falls during the year.
“Sarah had like 11 stick beam routines out of 13,” she said.
Nanna Bo Christensen was named Most Improved.
Christensen is an exchange student from Denmark, and is new to the sport.
“She came in with never really having done gymnastics,” Guy said. “She ended up doing all four events and she placed sixth in the all-around at the Metro Championships.”
Summers was voted Most Inspirational.
“She’s a motivator. She always tries to have the kids rise to the occasion and perform at their best level,” the coach recalled.
It went well beyond that, though. Guy recalled how Summers made ribbons for her teammates to wear, and how her family hosted the team breakfast before the district meet.
And even on the night of the awards dinner, she ran out to buy balloons and other party favors to celebrate Rice’s birthday that evening.
Guy described Summers, the team captain, as “a mama bear who takes the kids under her wings.”
The camaraderie on the team was evident.
“There’s none of the senior-freshman thing. All the kids are welcomed. We all get along,” Guy said.
“I think it has a lot to do with the leadership that Marielle displayed.”
Rice, the Spartans’ highest scorer of the year, earned Most Valuable honors. Her scores counted in every meet, Guy said.
“She actually won the meet against Nathan Hale at Nathan Hale,” Guy said, recalling how Rice hit a tsukahara vault on the team’s last event of the meet.
Rice was the last to compete that day for the Spartans, and what a finish.
“We were behind and she ran down and hit two really great vaults,” Guy said.
Though there was a bit of sadness at the dinner about the departure of the team’s seniors — Summers, Franz, Anna Peek, Brenna Boone, Tatiana Sils and Yesenia Deluna — there was also optimism amid a bit of talk about next year.
“We all laughed and cried together; it was just a good experience,” Guy said.