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Club gymnastics: ‘Come flip with us!’

By Jordan Brodie

Section: Sports

February 3, 2017

The Brandeis club gymnastics team is one of Brandeis’ many club sports that is constantly growing and succeeding. With more participants this year than ever before, the team appears to be moving forward.

The team competes in events judged by officials from the National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs.

The gymnastics team practices three times a week off campus at Exxcel Gymnastics in Needham. Because practices every week are open, there is no set number of participants, but the team has had as many as 40 people show up for practices. Of these, about 15 or so members show up consistently. Typically, practices begin with the team working on general skills, and then the gymnasts split up to work on individual skills.

“That’s a really cool aspect of the sport, which is that it is a team sport as well as an individual sport,” Gianna Petrillo ’19 explained. “You focus on your own personal improvement but there is constant support from the group, with more advanced members and coaches always eager to help out.”

Petrillo is the team’s public relations coordinator and works under captains Caleb Dafilou ’17 and Hannah DeRoche ’19.

Because anyone is able to try out, the gymnasts have a vast range of skill levels and abilities. While some are learning how to do flips this year, others such as Petrillo and the other captains have been practicing gymnastics since they were young. “I really missed [gymnastics] and wanted to pick it back up again in college. And now it is super exciting because I can do more skills than I ever could before,” Petrillo said.

When asked about her experience joining the club gymnastics team, Petrillo explained, “The team was incredibly friendly and welcoming when I was new.” She went on to say that anyone is capable of learning how to flip with enough time and practice.

The team’s gymnasts have had much success in competition, events for which include floor, vault, uneven bars, parallel bars, high bars and balance beam. Each event has a unique set of criteria that the judges score. Though they differ by event, the criteria typically involve having straight arms and legs, showing proper body positions, pointing toes, difficulty of skills and proper landings.

Many members of the team have succeeded in competition, but most notable is DeRoche, who is the current national champion on floor from the Level 8 club gymnastics national competition in 2016.

The club gymnastics team is always looking for new members. At the activities fair at the start of each semester, they market the club with the team’s tagline: “Come flip with us!”

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