Cheer squad bolsters gymnastics


Natalie Zgurich

Girls gymnastics poses for a picture.

Liam Belan and Nick Pouch

When students think of school spirit, they often think of cheerleaders at pep rallies or sporting events. Baldwin cheerleaders are always showing their school spirit, but this time some cheerleaders are doing it by joining an additional sport.
Coming into this season, the Baldwin gymnastics team was low on numbers and would compete knowing that they were too small of a group to have a chance at states.
“We only had three returning gymnasts and (scoring officials at meets) take the top four scores overall, so we would have had to take that fourth score as a zero at every meet,” senior Hanna Kalwarski said.
Five Highlander cheerleaders joined gymnastics to help the team compete and allow the team to challenge for states. The gymnastics team had won states in their most previous season.
“Our goal is to win states again,” Kalwarski said.
“There were not enough girls for states, so a lot of (cheerleaders) decided to join,” sophomore cheerleader Abby Zuder said.
This year’s Highlanders gymnastics team is an inexperienced group overall, yet they are determined.
“I’ve never done gymnastics, but I wanted to do it all,” Zuder said. “We’re all doing really well so far this season.”
Kalwarski has said that she does not see herself as a leader, but she tries to help the new gymnasts as much as she can.
“I’m just giving them little pointers and trying to calm their nerves and make sure they know that they can do it,” Kalwarski said.
The team started well with a mostly new squad and continues to improve.
“There hasn’t been any crazy improvement, but they have done well and have a lot of courage,” Kalwarski said. “They get frustrated at points but they never give up.”
The change from cheer to gymnastics has been a drastic one, with some events proving quite difficult.
“Tumbling has been much harder than I thought it would be,” Zuder said.
The team keeps striving for better scores, and the cheerleader additions are proving useful.
“Everyone has been great, but (sophomore) Alaina Wodarek has been really good for her first time,” Kalwarski said. “She looks like a natural when she is tumbling.”
Elsewhere on the team, other top performers include junior Haili Cordell and freshman Julia Stipetic.
“We are learning. Hopefully we can improve for seasons to come,” Zuder said.