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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

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Vaulting Into History: Inside the Debut of LHS’s First-ever Varsity Gymnastics Team

Photo+Courtesy+of+%40lbkvarsitygymnastics+Instagram+page
Photo Courtesy of @lbkvarsitygymnastics Instagram page

 LHS hosts a variety of different sports, which leaves a diverse pool of options for the student body to engage in. However, there was one sport that was absent from this rotation: gymnastics. While not as popular as other sports that Lynbrook showcases, the sport finally got a team this year, and to say that it has been a bright spot at LHS would be an understatement.

The desire for a gymnastics team at LHS was originally voiced by sophomore Gianna Marafioti in the first week of her freshman year. She showed a serious interest in starting a team and brought it up to Athletic Director Joseph Martillotti, who gave her the challenge of finding enough gymnasts to fill the team. 

Over the course of the year, Marafioti would supply the information needed to start a team at LHS. “I knew that there were other gymnasts that would join, so I gathered names and submitted them to him,” Marafioti explained. Along with parents wanting a gymnastics team at the high school level, Martillotti was able to find and budget a place for the team to practice, capable of putting things in place to ignite Lynbrook’s first-ever gymnastics team.

 Sophomore Hayden Rosa started gymnastics at the age of five, but would later take a break in her gymnastics career. The chance to come back and perform for Lynbrook’s team was something Rosa could not turn down. “I was really excited that the team I was coming back to [for gymnastics] was our first-ever school team,” Rosa said. “Knowing that we are making history for Lynbrook is something that the team and I are very proud of,” she added. While on the gymnastics team, Rosa also found time for cheer, helping this year’s team be the first-ever Lynbrook cheer team to make it to Nationals.

“It really is the best feeling ever!” Marafioti exclaimed when asked about what it means to be on the team. “The team is new, but it feels like we have been together for many seasons. We love helping each other gain new skills and celebrate growth,” added Marafioti. 

 Coach Dana Docar, a teacher at Westbury and a community member in Lynbrook, was ecstatic when she got the chance to coach the team. “Gymnastics has always been a passion of mine and an integral part of my life growing up, so the chance to work with Lynbrook’s student athletes to help share this passion and watch the girls grow individually and as a team from the ground up thus far has been nothing short of incredible,” Docar gushed.

 Docar previously coached gymnastics in other schools and found out Lynbrook was getting a team through Nassau County Gymnastics. When she heard about the opening, she was very eager for this opportunity. “I am very much looking forward to being able to share my passion and knowledge of the sport with the Lynbrook community.  Athletics play an important role in many of the students’ lives, and to be able to give Lynbrook another opportunity to allow their athletes to demonstrate what makes Lynbrook so special is very important to me,“ Docar added.

The team is 4-2 in its inaugural year, beating its opponent in the first two meets to get off to a hot start. Any expectations set for these girls seem to have been blown away so far in the season. “Being the first-ever team, I feel like we had to prove ourselves to our school and show that we do deserve this, and I think we’ve done a great job at doing just that,” Rosa said.

“The first year has exceeded my expectations,” Docar said. “From the support of my assistant coach Alyssa Manthos, who is a graduate of Lynbrook, to the parents, school staff, board of education, and community, we would not be where we are today without them. I would like to thank them for this wonderful opportunity. [The gymnastics team is] ready to finish this season strong.” 

Martillotti had nothing but praise and faith for the girls so far in the year. “[The first year] has been successful so far. It’s new, so like anything new, there are always bumps in the road, but overall, a lot of the feedback I’ve gotten has been positive,” Martillotti resounded.

 The girls on the team look forward to every day they get to practice with their new team. “Our team works very hard every day at practice to be able to do the best we can when our next meet comes around. We try our best and have fun while doing so,” Rosa said.

A part of the team she sparked together, Marafioti has had nothing but joy with Lynbrook’s first gymnastics team. “[The gymnasts] are truly proud at every meet to represent Lynbrook varsity gymnastics. We love that other teams are giving us compliments and judges are calling us over to tell us that we are an impressive team already and that they have seen growth early on,” Marafioti said. “The coaches are great, and the team is incredible, so [the team] just ha[s] fun every day as we support each other’s accomplishments,” added Marafioti. 

 

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About the Contributor
Sean Strohofer, Managing Editor
My name is Sean, and I am a member of the Class of 2025. I have a deep desire for sports and writing, so you might see me at sports events around town!