Railer gymnasts look for strong showing

Mark Schnabel
Newton junior Toria Thaw placed fifth on the balance beam and sixth in all-around last year at the state championships.

With four letterwinners returning and some top newcomers, the Newton High School gymnastics team are looking forward to a successful season.

JoAnne Thaw begins her 47th season as the Railer head coach. She is assisted this season by Keely Boston, a former Railer gymnast.

Newton took seventh at state last season.

“Keely Boston was a strong competitor for me a number of years ago,” Thaw said. “She has a lot of teaching and coaching experience and she has a love and passion for gymnastics. She will be a tremendous help to us.”

Senior Toria Thaw is the team’s top returnee from last season, claiming two state medals. She placed sixth at state in all-around last season. She was fifth on the balance beam.

Other returning state qualifiers include senior Elise Jantz, sophomore Elisa Fernandez and sophomore Janessa Sutton.

“We have two new freshmen with a

little experience who so we are looking to be a little stronger,” JoAnne Thaw said. “The girls have been working hard and are in good condition. We finished by qualifying for state last year and our girls are committed to gaining skills and working hard to qualify as a team again. Most importantly, staying healthy during this pandemic. We are enjoying each of the girls immensely as well as the challenge of making it to state once again as a team.”

Olathe East is the defending state champion, while Olathe Northwest was second and Lawrence Free State was third.

Newton will host the state meet Oct. 24 at Ravenscroft Gym.

“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.”


Sept. 5 @ Shawnee Mission North Inv. (Indian Creek) 10 a.m.

Sept. 8 Emporia 6 p.m.

Sept. 15 @ Olathe South Inv. (Millcreek Center) 6 p.m.

Oct. 3 Newton Inv. 11 a.m.

Oct. 12 @ Emporia 6 p.m.

Oct. 15 @ Shawnee Mission South Inv. TBA

Oct. 23 State @ Newton 11 a.m.