3 freshmen help lead gymnastics to states


Eliza Swanson

Freshmen gymnasts Sophia Rossa, Abby Rexrode, and Annabelle Herrle played a huge part in leading the team to states this year.

Eliza Swanson and Andrew Barret

When her mother noticed her flipping and tumbling on the furniture and floor at 7 years old, Sophia Rossa was catapulted into her gymnastics career. 

“I would tumble and flip around my house constantly, and my mom instantly noticed the talent I had and how much I enjoyed doing it. I’ve been doing gymnastics ever since,” Rossa said. 

Fast forward to today, and Rossa is joined by fellow freshmen Annabelle Herrle and Abby Rexrode on the varsity gymnastics team. All three girls have established themselves as key members of the team in their first year of high school.

Rexrode shared that it can be nerve-wracking to compete at a varsity level as a freshman. 

It can be super scary, but we are all super supportive and are just going out to do our best”

— Abby Rexrode

“It can be super scary, but we are all super supportive and are just going out to do our best,” she said. 

All three have experienced success this year.

Rossa, Rexrode, and Herrle are three of the five Baldwin gymnasts who are competing in the state meet this weekend. 

Rexrode and Rossa will be competing in the highest competition division in gymnastics, the Diamond division, while Herrle will compete in the Gold division. 

Rexrode placed first overall at WPIAL individual finals in the Diamond division last weekend, becoming the first all-around champion from Baldwin in that division since 1998. 

Herrle placed fourth overall at WPIALs in the Gold division.

And this weekend they are off to states, making for quite a freshman year.

“I was surprised but excited because it’s really exciting to be competing with some of the best girls,” Rossa said. 

Herrle and Rossa agree that their best event is floor, while Rexrode said she excels in beam. 

Herrle joins her sister, senior Abbey Herrle, on both the gymnastics and diving teams. Herrle said Abbey inspired her to get into gymnastics. 

“I got into gymnastics because my sister did it, but then I saw my friends were doing it too. I wanted to be able to do sports with my friends and win with them,” Herrle said. 

Rexrode has been a gymnast for 11 years, and she said that one of her favorite parts about Baldwin’s gymnastics program is the team’s bond. 

“I love the girls on the team and the team environment, ” Rexrode said. 

Senior Mia Dougherty said that with the girls contributing top performances in the beam, floor, vault, and bars events, the team’s overall scores have dramatically increased.  

“Compared to earlier seasons, we have gained many more gymnasts making us a larger team with great talent. There is a very high chance that we could win states this year because of how consistent and successful we have been throughout the season,” Dougherty said.

Rexrode is hopeful for the team’s future. 

“I am super excited for the next few years to add tricks, be with this team, and continue to improve,” Rexrode said.