Prep gymnastics preview capsules



Coach: Sue Bonacquisiti

Last Season: Cardinal District champions. Northwest Region runners-up. Seventh in Group AAA state meet.

Gymnast to watch: Rebecca Ruppert, Sr. After sitting out her junior season, Ruppert is back. An all-state performer on vault — she placed second at the Group AAA meet in 1999 and fourth in 2000 — Ruppert is one of the area’s best all-around performers. She finished second overall in the Northwest Region meet as a sophomore.

Key Losses: Lauren Andress, Krista Graham, Rachel Myers.

Other top returners: Denise Flowers, Sr.; Jana Hester, Sr.; Alicea Hall, Jr.; Johanna Mejia, Soph.

Promising newcomers: Cassandra Brown, Soph.; Christy Hartman, Soph.; Brittany Hu, Soph.; Emily Johnson, Fr.; Cassie Moler, Fr.

Outlook: The Vikings have won three consecutive Cardinal District championships. With Rebecca Ruppert back in the all-around rotation, they will contend for another this winter. Woodbridge lost three of its top six gymnasts when Krista Graham and Lauren Andress graduated and Rachel Myers moved out of the area, but the Vikings are still talented. They are six deep in the all-around with Featherstone gymnast Cassandra Brown, a Level 8 performer, and freshman Emily Johnson joining returners Jana Hester, Ruppert, Denise Flowers and Alicea Hall.


Coach: Cris Rhynedance

Last Season: Sixth in the Cardinal District.

Gymnast to watch: Nicole Blades, Fr. One of four freshmen on the Bruins’ roster this winter, Blades has star potential. She is a Level 8 club competitor at Capital Gymnastics and will be Forest Park’s featured all-arounder.

Key Losses: none

Top returners: Meredith Picard, Jr.; Jessica Kuschel, Soph.

Other promising newcomers: Kellie Gilliam, Sr.; Christine McNamara, Jr.; Valerie Ierley, Soph.; Allison Anoll, Fr.; Caitlin Anthony, Fr.; Christina Sporleder, Fr.

Outlook: The Bruins believe they have the talent and depth to contend for a Cardinal District title in their second varsity season. First-year coach Cris Rhynesdance has reason for optimism. Forest Park will compete with three all-arounders — Nicole Blades, Meredith Picard and Valerie Ierley — and five gymnasts who will perform in at least two events. Sophomore all-arounder Jessica Kuschel is coming back from a knee injury and will begin the year on bars and beam. Junior Christine McNamara competed for Hylton as a freshman, senior Kellie Gilliam has club experience at Featherstone and Allison Anoll is a renowned acro gymnast at Novaks.


Coach: Ray Roman

Last Season: Fifth in the Cardinal District.

Gymnast to watch: Tricia Smith, Sr. The Indians’ top all-arounder, Smith qualified for the Group AAA state meet on vault and the Northwest Region meet on balance beam last season. As a sophomore, she placed sixth in the district all-around competition and advanced to state on vault and uneven bars.

Key Losses: none

Other top returners: Megan Sullivan, Jr.; Tracy Cloninger, Soph.

Promising newcomers: Tanna-Rae Higby, Sr.; Christie Gwizdowski, Sr.; Ashley Lienau, Jr.; Trevor Stanley, Jr.

Outlook: First-year coach Ray Roman inherits a talented team that features three Level 9 all-arounders — Tricia Smith, Megan Sullivan and Tracy Cloninger. Sullivan was a state qualifer on balance beam while Cloninger advanced to state on the uneven bars. Junior Ashley Lienau, who has dance and club training, could emerge as a fourth all-arounder for the Indians.


Coach: Tina Bapple

Last Season: Fourth in the Cardinal Distict.

Gymnast to watch: Jessica Lorenzo, Soph. A Level 8 club performer at Featherstone Gymnastics, Lorenzo begins her second varsity season as Hylton’s top all-arounder. She has added a Tsukahara vault and a double back on the uneven bars.

Key Losses: Morgan Terronez, Brittany Parker.

Other top returners: Millie Dike, Sr.; Bethany Wolstenholme, Jr.; Sarah Heeren, Soph.; Natasha Marple, Soph.

Promising newcomers: Elisa Rhynedance, Fr.

Outlook: Hylton graduated its top two all-arounders — Florida State cheerleader Morgan Terronez and Brittany Parker. The Bulldogs added talented freshman Elisa Rhynedance, a Level 8 gymnast at Capital, who will join Jessica Lorenzo and Millie Dike in the all-around rotation this winter.



Coach: Monica Brown

Last Season: Second in the Cardinal District. Third in Northwest Region.

Gymnast to watch: Kelly Stevison, Jr. An all-state performer on the vault, Stevison finished ninth in the Group AAA meet and earned the nickname “Little Miss Tsuk” for her exceptional Pike Tsukahara. She captured the Cardinal District all-around championship and placed second overall in the Northwest Region. She won the region’s vault title and qualified for state on all four individual events.

Key Losses: Cathy Ferguson, Brittany Spano.

Other top returners: Sara Longo, Sr.; Ashley Keller, Jr.; Devon Alston, Soph.

Promising newcomers: Victoria Kallini, Sr.; Missy Maruca, Jr.; Lauren Linville, Soph.; Amy Olsen, Soph.; Melissa Chettle, Fr.; Beth Ploger, Fr.; Erin Keating, Fr.; Valerie Strickland, Fr.

Outlook: The Yellow Jackets have tremendous depth with five all-arounders, including state qualifiers Kelly Stevison and Ashley Keller and regional meet qualifier Devon Alston. Because only two schools fielded teams in the Cedar Run District, Osbourn Park is already assured a berth in the Northwest Region meet, but the Yellow Jackets want to qualify as district champions. The arrival of Level 8 freshman Beth Ploger and Level 7 freshman Erin Keating make Osbourn Park legitimate contenders for district and regional crowns.


Coach: Karen Lutman

Last Season: Third in the Cardinal District.

Gymnast to watch: Adriana Harvey, Sr. The Raiders’ top gymnast won the Cardinal District uneven bars championship and shared the floor exercise title with Woodbridge’s Lauren Andress. She was second in the district all-around competition and qualified for state on the balance beam, uneven bars and floor exercise.

Key Losses: Mackenzie Perraut.

Other top returners: Laura Hancock, Jr.; Elizabeth Ward, Jr.; Elizabeth Bowman, Jr.; Ann Itnyre, Soph.

Promising newcomers: Kelly Morris, Fr.; Carol Reed, Fr.

Outlook: The Raiders know they are going to regionals. They’ve already qualified, along with Osbourn Park, in the two-team Cedar Run District. Getting there should be fun. Stonewall Jackson has five all-arounders, led by senior Adriana Harvey, who is ranked among the top three students in the senior class. Junior Laura Hancock and sophomore Ann Itnyre also return. Freshmen Carol Reed, a level 8 gymnast at GMS, and Kelly Morris make up for the loss of state-qualifier Mackenzie Perraut, who chose not to compete this season.



Coach: Valerie Welch

Last Season: Second in the Commonwealth District. Fourth in the Northwest Region.

Gymnast to watch: Michelle Warner, Fr. A former club gymnast, Warner returned to the gym this winter after a five-year break. She will be one of North Stafford’s six all-around performers in her first varsity season.

Key Losses: Elizabeth Barrett, Casey Ramos.

Top returners: Kaylen Baker, Jr.; Nikki Doke, Jr.; Kristen Kelly, Jr.; Kaelan Wilshaw, Jr.

Other promising newcomers: Stephanie Leyna, Jr.; Shannon Moreau, Jr.; Carrie Olechowitz, Jr.; Becky Varni, Jr.

Outlook: The Wolverines qualified for regionals last season and they have set their sights even higher this winter. With six all-arounders, North Stafford is determined to end Stafford’s six-year reign as Northwest Region champions. Plenty of talent returns from a year ago, including juniors Kristen Kelly and Kaylen Baker. The Wolverines received a tremendous boost when juniors Nikki Doke, a Level 8 performer, and Kaelan Wilshaw, a Level 7 talent, returned after sitting out last season. Junior all-arounder Stephanie Leyna also joins the rotation this year.


Coach: Shawn Smith

Last Season: Commonwealth District champions; Northwest Region champions; Finished fourth in the Group AAA state meet.

Gymnast to watch: Sarah Brown, Sr. An all-state performer, Brown captured Commonwealth District and Northwest Region all-around titles as a sophomore. She set school records in the all-around and floor exercise that same year and was ninth in the state in the all-around. She missed a month of her junior year because of a stress fracture in her left leg, but returned to compete in three events at the state meet. Prior to the injury, she won the all-around championship at the Park View Invitational, finished second overall at Winterfest and was third at the season-opening South Lakes Invitational.

Key Losses: Aimee Little, Allison Rankin, Annie Strickler, Jennifer Whited.

Other top returners: Chanelle Noel, Sr.; Tiffany Kerby, Jr.; Jennifer Little, Jr.; Colleen Schwartz, Soph.

Promising newcomers: Nai Bloomfield, Sr.

Outlook: The Indians have won six consecutive Northwest Region championships and three straight Commonwealth District titles. They will attempt to extend both of those streaks with a six-gymnast roster. Senior Sarah Brown will be limited to competing on the uneven bars until mid-January while she recovers from a severe ankle sprain. Stafford begins the season with just two all-arounders — state qualifiers Jennifer Little and sophomore Colleen Schwartz. Senior Chanelle Noel will compete on balance beam and floor, while junior Tiffany Kerby will compete on floor and vault.


Coach: Becky Bowery

Last Season: Third in Commonwealth District.

Gymnast to watch: Kimber Glines, Soph. A former Novaks’ club gymnast, Glines missed her freshman season with a stress fracture in her right leg. Now a Level 10 performer at Capital, she will be the Black-Hawks’ featured all-arounder.

Key Losses: Elsie Oldaker, Kisha Moore.

Top returners: Becca Howard, soph; Anne Yanni, soph.

Other promising newcomers: Sarah Eskew, Fr; Angela Felock, Fr.

Outlook: The Black-Hawks have their most talented squad since Emily McNabb, Ty Stull, Tracee O’Ferrell and Amy Becker led them to a sixth-place finish at the 1998 state meet. Most of Brooke Point’s scoring will come from three all-arounders — level 10 sophomore Kimber Glines, Stafford Royals club member Becca Howard and sophomore Anne Yanni. A pair of freshmen — Sarah Eskew and Angela Felock — will also contribute.

Information on Colonial Forge’s team was not available.

Capsules compiled by Dave Utnik

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