Minneapolis gymnastics programs land pinpoint place to practice

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 4, 2014 - 6:45 PM

Four Minneapolis high school gymnastics programs have carved a novel practice facility out of an old city school building.

hide

Aris Iwaszko, 12, left, and Elizabeth Webster, 12, both members of the South/Roosevelt team, worked out on a low beam. Now that the city schools have a facility, the goal has become to be competitive with the top programs in the area.

Photo: Marlin Levison,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Barefoot girls in leotards and practice shorts tumble and pirouette, balancing here, flipping there. It’s the organized chaos of a high school gymnastics practice, no different from any one of the 80 or so prep programs across the metro area.

With one big exception: This is a practice for teams in the Minneapolis City Conference. Three teams were using the space one day last week, housed in the first gymnastics-only facility to serve the city schools.

After years of making do with inadequate spaces and obsolete equipment, the four teams in the Minneapolis conference — Edison/Henry/North, South/Roosevelt, Washburn and Southwest — finally have a place of their own. The gymnasium at the old North Star Elementary building on 24th and Girard avenues in north Minneapolis had been sitting empty nearly two years since the departure of a charter school.

The equipment isn’t cutting edge, but it is up to date. There is a permanent spring floor, three balance beams (actually four, but parts for the fourth were lost during the move), two vaulting tables and two sets of uneven parallel bars.

“This is the biggest thing to happen to gymnastics in the city in my eight years coaching here,” said Edison/Henry/North coach Cassandra Guzman Meyering. “This just looks like a [gymnastics] club and that’s something we’ve never had before.”

There has been plenty of hand-wringing and concern about the fate of high school sports in the city. Gymnastics may not carry the high profile of basketball, but a step taken to encourage growth is seen as a positive sign.

“I’m a Minneapolis South kid,” South/Roosevelt coach Gabrielle Stickney said. “I was a gymnast here. It’s a great thing for the city teams.”

The site of the gym has long been coveted by city gymnastics coaches, who thought they had it secured eight years ago. But they lost the opportunity when the space was leased to a charter school. When it became available again two years ago, the coaches mobilized.

“I was skeptical,” said Guzman Meyering, who headed up the project of persuading the school board. “We had lost it before. I wasn’t going to believe it until we moved the equipment in.”

The advantages of having their own gym are greater than just a home base. Accessibility, safety and development are among the added benefits.

“We used to have to haul out our equipment and put it up and tear it back down before and after every practice,” Washburn coach Carrie Sartin said. “That’s not easy. When people looked at gymnastics, they saw work.”

Avoiding the prep work, Roosevelt sophomore Tiffany Bingham said, is a reason for celebration.

“Just being able to come to a gym and have everything ready makes it way more fun,” she said.

Sharing the facility allowed schools to cobble together the best of their equipment. A spring floor was added for the floor exercise and double-padded runways for vault, which has put less stress on the gymnasts’ legs.

“We have had far fewer shin splints and ankle injuries,” Sartin said. “It’s been so much better.”

The next step will be to reconfigure the gym to allow for meets the be held there. For the past two years, Minneapolis Conference teams have had to compete at St. Paul Como Park, Highland Park and Johnson, which have more readily available facilities. With a little redecorating, the gym will be able to host meets next year.

After that, the long-term goal is to be competitive with the top programs in the area.

  • related content

  • The old North Star Elementary building in north Minneapolis has a large gymnastics facility that is used simultaneously by three area high school gymnastics teams.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 FINAL
Baltimore 20
Dallas 44 FINAL
Washington 17
Indianapolis 27 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 FINAL
Houston 23
San Diego 7 FINAL
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 37 FINAL
Miami 24
Chicago 9 FINAL
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 34 FINAL
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 34 4th Qtr 3:45
Atlanta 3
Detroit 14 4th Qtr 8:45
Green Bay 28
Oakland 14 4th Qtr 9:42
Denver 33
Arizona 17 4th Qtr 7:55
San Francisco 20
St. Louis 6 4th Qtr 7:39
Seattle 20
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Detroit 103 FINAL
Cleveland 80
Houston 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Oklahoma City 6:30 PM
Dallas
New York 8:00 PM
Portland
Toronto 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 4 3rd Prd 19:11
Florida 2
Vancouver 7:00 PM
Anaheim
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 48 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 46 FINAL
Arizona State 56
Longwood 64 FINAL
Ball State 69
Sacred Heart 76 FINAL
Brown 79
Colgate 64 FINAL
Columbia 69
MD-Eastern Shore 78 FINAL
Duquesne 69
UNC Greensboro 50 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Marist 64 FINAL
Elon 69
NJIT 71 FINAL
Lafayette 76
Cincinnati Christian 58 FINAL
Liberty 78
Morgan State 53 FINAL
Marquette 81
Campbell 56 FINAL
Samford 65
Bucknell 71 FINAL
Siena 73
Long Beach State 67 FINAL
Syracuse 85
Coppin State 80 FINAL
Evansville 85
UMKC 73 FINAL
Indiana State 70
Hofstra 88 FINAL
Long Island 62
Coast Guard 48 FINAL
Army 93
Thomas (GA) 48 FINAL
High Point 85
Texas Southern 58 FINAL
Kansas State 56
Rutgers 59 FINAL
Monmouth 58
NC Wesleyan 54 FINAL
NC A&T 58
South Dakota St 63 FINAL
Northern Iowa 74
Central Penn College 69 FINAL
Radford 119
Bowling Green 79 FINAL
South Florida 70
Harris-Stowe 66 FINAL
SE Missouri St 94
Robert Morris-IL 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 104
Northland College 59 FINAL
North Dakota St 83
Milwaukee 60 FINAL
South Dakota 84
Northwestern St 92 FINAL
Arkansas 100
Saint Peters 59 FINAL
Cornell 52
St Katherine 62 FINAL
Fresno State 93
Haskell 42 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Richmond 63
Fla Gulf Coast 57 FINAL
Xavier 71
SD Christian 45 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Judson 46 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 80
Ill-Chicago 57 2nd Half 1:06
Bradley 62
Loyola-Maryland 55 1st OT
Fairfield 55
Miss Valley St 53 FINAL
Houston 80
Lehigh 58 FINAL
UMBC 55
Delaware State 56 FINAL
Temple 66
Belmont 38 2nd Half
Butler 39
Howard 26 2nd Half
Fordham 28
NW Christian 24 2nd Half
Nevada 41
UC Davis 32 2nd Half 19:45
Washington St 46
Abilene Christian 34 2nd Half
Grand Canyon 33
UCLA 5 1st Half 6:36
Alabama 20
Stony Brook 7:00 PM
Washington
Buffalo 7:00 PM
Wisconsin
CS-Bakersfield 9:00 PM
California
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
St Francis-PA 59 FINAL
Pittsburgh 97
Milwaukee 72 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 78
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Longwood 63
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Bucknell 68 FINAL
Binghamton 57
Northeastern 70 FINAL
Albany 67
George Mason 70 FINAL
Towson 72
Richmond 59 FINAL
William & Mary 56
Tulane 60 FINAL
Cincinnati 50
North Florida 51 FINAL
Florida 63
(14) Georgia 51 FINAL
Seton Hall 70
Tennessee St 75 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 87
American Univ 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 77
Massachusetts 78 FINAL
Boston U 57
Quinnipiac 69 FINAL
Saint Josephs 67
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Northwestern 61 FINAL
(20) Michigan State 57
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
George Washington 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 49
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Indiana 51
(24) Green Bay 66 FINAL
Dayton 72
Western Mich 55 FINAL
Stony Brook 59
Davidson 67 FINAL
Virginia 57
UNC Greensboro 61 FINAL
LSU 82
Denver 63 FINAL
North Texas 55
VA Commonwealth 63 FINAL
Coppin State 52
Huston-Tillotson 36 FINAL
Houston Baptist 86
Lamar 63 FINAL
Rice 97
Miss Valley St 40 FINAL
Alabama 71
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 49
Middle Tennessee 98 FINAL
Tenn Tech 76
Penn State 52 FINAL
(23) Iowa 77
Purdue 62 FINAL
Illinois 55
DePaul 99 FINAL
Illinois State 62
Sam Houston St 46 FINAL
Wichita State 70
South Dakota 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
(4) Notre Dame 82 FINAL
UCLA 67
Coll of Charleston 51 FINAL
SC State 60
Alcorn State 53 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 63
Dartmouth 76 FINAL
Niagara 70
Colgate 68 FINAL
Siena 80
Michigan 53 FINAL
Wisconsin 63
Fla Gulf Coast 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 64
Yale 51 FINAL
(25) Arizona State 69
UC Santa Barbara 34 FINAL
(16) Stanford 90
Long Island 63 FINAL
Long Beach St 71
Jackson State 37 2nd Half 11:40
Louisiana 43
Eureka 50 FINAL
Western Ill 91
Cornell 45 2nd Half 15:30
(22) Syracuse 39
Temple 7:30 PM
Memphis

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close