How Oakton Gymnastics is Preparing for Districts

The Oakton gymnastics team has been working the whole season to win at districts. Learn the strategy from the coach and how hard the team has been working.


Zoe Sauger, Editor-In-Chief

A lot of people do not understand what high school gymnastics is. It is completely different from what you saw Simone Biles do at the Olympics. To begin with, high school gymnastics has a diverse mix of gymnasts. The team could range from girls who have never done gymnastics before to some who used to do it or are not as committed with club, all the way to girls who have done gymnastics for their whole life and spend almost every waking minute at club. Club is doing competitive gymnastics or doing gymnastics at a gym, know as club, outside of high school. Doing gymnastics for high school is especially different than any other high school sport. The season is only one time in the year compared to club which is all year long. Also, gymnastics isn’t the sport you can just pick up. If you don’t continue to work on your skills year round, you will definitely lose them. The girls who only do high school will have a hard time in the beginning and girls from club have a hard time adjusting to the different equipment. For example, in club the floor has springs, but in highschool it is about two inches of foam. So, it is a big change that can take some time to get used to.

The last time Oakton gymnastics won Districts was in 2006. Districts is the final meet of the season, unless the team qualifies for regionals, and the team competes against all the other teams in the district to win. This year, in Oakton’s district is Chantilly, Centreville, Westfield, Madison, and Oakton. This year the Oakton gymnastics team has been determined to win districts, and they feel pretty confident going in. One of the captains, Natasha Burch (12) said, “I think we are more prepared for districts mentally also because we have done mock meets and do our routines in front of one another and the coaches to get the nerves out and everyone is working really hard for new skills to up our team score.” The team has been working extremely hard on upping the difficulty (doing harder skills) so they can have a higher team score. The other captain Naomi Nero (12) said,”I definitely feel more prepared for districts this year. I think we have a strong team with people who are not only physically strong with solid routines, but also we are mentally more prepared which I think is the key difference.” Another reason the team is more prepared mentally is of how close everyone has become. The team is constantly bonding at practice and the meets and they try to do things outside of gym to bond even more. Nero said, “We’ve never really had a clique-y team but this year especially we’ve become really close as a team which I love.” It definitely helps us prepare for districts when we are close to each other. We know the work and struggle each gymnast has gone through to be able to compete at their best. So, we love cheering for eachother which really gets us pumped up to compete.

When asked how the coaches has been preparing the team for districts Coach Farrah said, “Oakton Gymnastics has a strong team with a lot of breadth and depth – meaning we have a number of gymnasts who are prepared to compete all around and who each have varying degrees of skills on each event.” This is very important because Oakton will have a full lineup and be competitive with the other teams at Districts. She then said, “Since the start of the season, the team has been examining and re-examining their routines to see where they are missing requirements, difficulty, or have opportunities for bonus points. We have worked hard to arrange routines so they receive the maximum start value, and have been working basics to ensure clean delivery of those routines.” In other words, the coaches have been working hard along with the gymnasts to ensure they are doing everything the best possible and are reaching their highest scores. When Coach Farrah was asked about how this season has compared to last season she said, “We have focused on staying healthy this year. For example, halfway through the season, the team members were starting to get meet fatigue, so I decided not to compete a full line up at our third meet. This gave everyone a chance to rest and not become overburdened with the competitive spirit. I saw a difference between the scores of our third and fourth meets.” Doing this has really helped the team and we are all healthy, mostly, to compete at our strongest for districts compared to last year when there were a lot of injuries. Overall, the team is excited for districts and will be proud to represent Oakton high school. And, like Coach Farrah said, “I’m looking forward to Oakton Gymnastics giving other teams a reason to worry when we walk into the gym!” Good luck at Districts Oakton Gymnastics!