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Gymnastics: Raiders sets their goals and are ready to exceed them

With competition set to start this week, the Hastings gymnastics team is focused on exceeding the goals it set for the season, something that is their primary focus every season.

"Last season was great, we set goals and exceeded all of them," head coach Jeanne Kasel said. "Our junior varsity team really stepped up last season and pulled us to finish third in the conference, and our varsity team did the same. The girls set goals each week and at least 85 percent of the time we would reach or exceed them."

Part of setting those goals, according to Kasel, helps remove the heavy emphasis on winning that comes with some programs.

"I stress the point that winning is not always the big picture, but a small piece of feeling a great sense of accomplishment and pride," she explained. "Setting goals is how we roll, but in order to see results you have to work together and support each other. I want these girls to be able to go out in the real world and feel confident and strong. Gymnasts are a rare breed and they are often very successful in life because of their mindset and ability to push themselves to great things."

Both varsity and junior varsity have set their own team goals on type of individual ones.

"As a team we sat down two weeks ago and set some goals," Kasel said. "The girls want to beat their varsity high-team score from last year of 125 and the junior varsity girls want to have a full roster on all four events along with all the girls improving their individual scores each week."

Kasel went on to say that the team's strengths and weaknesses this season follow what they have been in the past for the Raiders.

"As a team our strengths are floor and balance beam," she said. "Vault is normally a close third, but bars are the area we struggle in most. We just don't have the proper training facility to be working on harder elements and strength conditioning. I am very proud of our team and coaches for always working their hardest each day to work with what we have and develop the skills we need."

Hastings' captains this season are returning gymnasts who have been with the program forever.

"This year our captains are senior Emma Fendrick and junior Kailee Greenough," Kasel stated. "Both have been on the team since middle school and are great leaders and role models for the girls. We will be very sad to say goodbye to Emma at the end of this season."

The Raiders' first meet of the season is at home (at the Hastings National Guard Armory) on Thursday, Dec. 14, against South St. Paul.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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