The Newton High School gymnastics team will have two returning state qualifiers to lead a relatively young team through the 2019 season.
JoAnne Thaw returns for her 48th season as the Railer coach. She is assisted by former Railer standout Carlye Anderson.
“Carlye Anderson was a strong competitor and a state champion on bars her last two years,” Thaw said. “She has a love and passion for gymnastics and will be a tremendous help to us. This past two years she competed AAU as a level 10 and went to Nationals placing high.”
Returning state qualifiers are junior Toria Thaw and senior Becca Meyer.
Toria Thaw was 21st in all-around at state last year. She as 17th on the balance beam, 26th on the uneven parallel bars, 36th on the floor exercises and tied for 33rd on the vault.
Meyer was 30th at state on the floor exercises and tied for 33rd on the vault.
Also on the squad are juniors Elise Jantz and Acacia Penner; sophomores Elena DeLeon and Georgia Garcia; and freshmen Janessa Sutton and Elisa Fernandez.
“We don’t have a lot of new experience besides Elisa Fernandez who has some competitive experience so we will still be building as far as team,” JoAnne Thaw said. “The girls have been working hard and are in good condition. We finished by qualifying two for state last year and our girls are committed to gaining skills and working hard to qualify as a team. We are enjoying each of the girls immensely as well as the challenge of making it to state
once again as a team.”
JoAnne Thaw said the slots for the top state contenders are still up for grabs. Olathe East is the defending state champion, followed by Lawrence and Shawnee Mission South.
The defending state all-around champion is junior Talia Gay of Lawrence Free State.
“I do know that we had quite a few underclassmen with great ability so I think the competition will be pretty high level,” JoAnne Thaw said. “Our girls are very determined and hard-working athletes so they will undoubtedly do their best to make it to state.”