Gymnastics Team Falls Below Radar

unnamed-1By Lilah Vieweg

The Arlington High School gymnastics team is often overlooked by students and teachers alike. Because their meets are rarely announced or their triumphs published, many students are totally unaware of the team’s existence.

When asked about this lack of knowledge about the gymnastics team, junior team captain Emily Smith-Kaufman replies, “I think maybe because there aren’t a lot of people who do gymnastics and because the team is really small, people don’t pay as much attention to it.”

“We are a lot better than people think we are,” says Smith-Kaufman. “ Last year, I wish people had come because we broke the school record, and we have done a lot that people don’t recognize.”

Says sophomore team member Karenna Ng, “I think what we do is pretty cool. I wish more people at AHS knew about us, because we work just as hard as the other teams.”

Sophomore team member Katja Ampe explains, “It’s an American tradition to watch football. It’s not a tradition  to watch gymnastics. I think generally more people attend the other sporting events, but also, that’s mainly because people don’t know that we have a gymnastics team.”  Unlike other sporting events at AHS, gymnastics meets are free.

“I really like the sport, because it’s physically hard, but it’s also mentally hard,” comments Ampe. “I mean, some sports are nice, but they aren’t as scary. In gymnastics, you have a four-inch wide piece of wood, four feet in the air. That is scary, and half of it is knowing that you can do it.”

Unlike other sporting events, gymnastic meets are free.

 

Advertisements

Hockey team honors Catherine Malatesta

 

unnamedBy Anna Hinkel

On Sunday, February 12, the Arlington varsity boys’ hockey team took on Hingham at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena in a game to honor Catherine Malatesta.

The game started out fast. Cully Curran, assisted by Drew Malatesta and Kevin Ouellette, scored the first goal during the first period.

Throughout the rest of the first period, through the second, and into the beginning of third, the score remained the same. Both teams were playing hard and the game was close.

Then John Piggot, with an outstanding pass from Michael Curran, scored the second goal for Arlington. The fans cheered and the stadium came alive again.

Desperate to somehow come back, Hingham pulled their goalie in favor of putting an extra player on the ice. This sealed the deal for Arlington, when Kevin Ouellette scored on an empty net, assisted by Cully Curran and Michael Curran.

At the end of the game, Drew Malatesta was named Player of the Game, chosen for his assist of Cully Curran in the first period.

Arlington finished the game with a 3-0 lead, making their record 10-0-1.

Team Skates at Fenway

hockeyBy Anna Hinkel

On Wednesday, January 11th, the Arlington High boys’ varsity hockey team played on their biggest stage yet: Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, which had been transformed into Frozen Fenway, a massive outdoor ice rink, for the two weeks of January 3-16th.

Arlington High was selected to play against Burlington High at Frozen Fenway; they were the first public high schools that were not from Boston to be chosen.

Other teams that played from Massachusetts include the Boston Bruins, Boston University, and Boston College.

The game was meant to be for entertainment, not competition, therefore, the outcome would not affect either team’s record. This did nothing to take away the Arlington High boys’ desire to win.

Though the pressure to win wasn’t there, it was different and daunting to be under big lights and more on display than normal. Not only did they want to win for themselves, but also wanted to win to prove they could perform in a higher level stadium, not just in local indoor rinks like Arlington’s Ed Burns Arena.

Everything in a rink is controlled, the temperature and the quality of the ice, especially. One would expect the conditions at Fenway to be less than exemplary, but the ice was smooth and well-kept, despite the high 50s temperatures.

The only thing that was really affected was the depth perception of the players, which was thrown off slightly by the bright lights of the park.

At a local rink, the spectators are usually just parents and fans from the school, such as classmates and maybe people from the opposing team’s town.

At Fenway, there is a huge crowd, people from both towns and some people who just come to watch a game at Fenway. There is no home team; it’s neutral ground for both teams.

This was a change of pace, but it was also amazing for them to play at Fenway – a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The Frozen Fenway experience would not have been complete without some behind the scenes perks for the team, which they got. The team dressed in the clubhouse and went  into the visitors’ batting cage. They also viewed all the old and new framed photos.

The team came out of this with not only an incredible experience, but also with a 6-3 win.

Senior Michael Curran had one goal. Sophomores Dara Conneely, Cameron Ryan, and Joel Hanley all had one, and freshman Brendan Jones, who provided all the information for this article, scored two goals.

Students Rally For School Spirit

AHS teachers take on an obstacle course dressed as sumo wresters (top left). Cheerleaders perform stunts (top right). Students compete in a game of tug-of-war (bottom right). The AHS hip-hop dance club performs (bottom). Photographer: Maya Pockrose

By: Maya Pockrose

On the last day of spirit week, between F and G blocks on Friday, September 30th, the AHS pep rally took place.

The AHS Pep Band played as students filed into the Red Gym and sat in their respective grade’s seating area. First on the agenda was determining which grade was loudest. It was, of course, the seniors.

Next, the AHS cheerleaders performed, per pep rally tradition. Following them, a newer installment, the AHS hip hop dancers, did a few numbers. Both groups did well and seemed to have practiced a good deal in preparation. One student said, “I liked seeing the hip hop dancers because that was different from last year.” Another “liked seeing some students’ hidden talents.”

During the rally, a school-wide wave went around the gym a few times. Then,the students competed in a relay race. During all the the events, the pep band played energetic tunes.

The t-shirt cannon was brought out as well, and just a few students from each grade were lucky enough to catch them as they soared into the bleachers.

Tug-of-war, a favorite event, followed. First, the teams from the four grades faced off in pairs, and then the winning team, the Juniors, went up against some tough competition: the teachers. It was a close match, but ultimately, the Juniors took home the win.

Then another crowd favorite took place. Paul McKnight, Justin Bourassa, and Graham Dimmock faced off in a fairly simple obstacle course, with one twist. They had to complete the course while wearing inflatable sumo wrestler suits, making for quite the spectacle. A student said that “seeing my teachers in fat suits was… odd,” while another found the event “funny and entertaining.” Ultimately, Mr. McKnight took the win, to the resounding approval of the audience.

As the rally came to a close, the announcements of the day’s upcoming athletic events were made, and finished with a pep-inducing round of “Let’s get fired up!”, each grade taking a word of the phrase.

As students poured out of the Red Gym at all exits and headed for their last class of the day, the pep band played. The pep rally seemed successful, and was considered a fun ending to Spirit Week. One student thought the “activities were cool in a way that got everyone working together,” and the rally “showed a lot of school spirit.” Mission accomplished.

Cross Country Teams Host Race

By: Claire Kitzmiller

On Saturday, June 11th at 9:00 AM, the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams will be hosting a 5K run/walk. The race is open to all levels of athletes/ non-athletes. The cost of registration is $20 until June 9th. After June 9, the fee increases to $25.

The course begins at the skating rink, loops around the reservoir and ends back at the rink. It is a beautiful course, without any hills.

Fifty percent of the proceeds from the fun run will be donated to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Barr Program in memory of Catherine Malatesta. The other fifty percent will support the Arlington cross country teams.

For more information visit: http://celebrate5kfunrun.weebly.com

 

Glick rides ahead

IMG_1863

Eliza (right) stands with one of  her favorite horses, Guinness, at the Ironstone Farm. Photo By: Teresa Weis

By: Juliana Bird

At age 6, Eliza Glick, junior, became fascinated with horses. Since then, she has been working, volunteering, and riding at the Ironstone Farm in Andover, MA. This particular farm is unique because therapy programs are serviced here. Now, as a 17-year old, Glick and the rest of the staff accommodate riders with physical and/or emotional disorders. Glick stresses that, “Anybody can ride. People in wheelchairs, people who can walk, non-communicative people, the blind and deaf, and terminally ill patients can ride. That’s the amazing thing.”  

Glick says that the horses have a “huge impact” on disabled riders. Depending on how much assistance is needed, the riders may participate in a saddle or natural ride to help incorporate movement of horse to help work on core strength and balance. Glick says that the, “movement of the horse is beneficial for the movement of walking”.

Glick is the present Coordinator at the farm. Her employer, Kay Milligan who is the Volunteer and Working Student Coordinator at Ironstone Farm, describes Glick’s job saying, “Eliza acts as the ‘clerk of the works’”. It’s her job to make sure all the people, horses, and equipment are in the right place at the right time. She directs a team of working students in accomplishing these tasks.”

Glick been dedicated for the past ten years to the farm and horses. Milligan describes Glick as, “one of the people we rely upon to help work some of our younger and less experienced horses”. Glick is reliable, dedicated, a leader and “ has a very strong work ethic, and an incredible heart for the horses,” says Milligan.

Glick predicts that horseback riding will always be a part of her life. In fact, she believes that it changed her life. Glick said, “Before I rode, I was very shy and I wouldn’t do anything by myself.  It was the first thing that I really did by myself, and it built so much independence, leadership and problem solving capabilities.”

Along with working, Glick also takes private lessons herself to fulfill her love of riding. She began to ride in 1st grade. After Glick climbed onto the saddle, it was clear that that is where she was meant to be.

 

 

 

Benoit balances her act

Benoit balances her act

By Sam O’Keefe

A double layout, front handspring, roundoff double back, yurchenko vault. Do you know what these all are? AHS senior Rachel Benoit certainly does, with exceptional passion and experience. Benoit, a familiar face of the AHS and Arlington community, a talented student, and a friend of many, currently stands in the top 5-10 gymnasts in the state and region.

She has already traveled to 12 different states to compete and is eager to see February break arrive for a trip to a competition in Puerto Rico. Having begun gymnastics at the age of three, Benoit stands as a high-achieving, motivated individual who lives and breathes gymnastics, consistently developing her skill throughout her childhood and now into adulthood.

Waking up at 6:30am, she attends a regular school day, teaches from 3:30-4:30pm, practices 4:30-8:30pm, and returns home to start homework for Honors and AP classes. From where does this passion stem? It seems to be in her DNA, despite having no relatives christened to the sport. The gymnast explains, that “At the age of three, I spent more time walking on my hands than on my feet”.

It was without hesitation that her parents brought her to a recreational gymnastics class while she was in preschool, which she attended for about three years, until her coach recognized her inborn skill and advised a more competitive and elevated level. She has been at Gymnastics and More in Woburn since 2004.

Currently practicing a minimum 24 hours a week, Benoit has progressed in her skills and intensity. As a current level 10 gymnast, the rigor and challenge are parts of the package, as Benoit writes, “by no means is practice relaxed. Everyday I am working to clean up and perfect my skills.”

Benoit’s favorite skills at which she has worked “incredibly hard” include the double layout on floor and the roundoff double back on beam, skills commonly performed at top Division 1 colleges.

One of her dreams is competing at the D1 college level. There is indeed a baseline formula for this level of competition to be reached; one must compete for a private gymnastics club and make it to the JO (Junior Olympics) at nothing lower than a level 10.

Benoit clarifies that her goal every year is to compete to the best of her abilities and qualify for the JO. Not only does she maintain her never-waning dedication to the sport and level, but also upholds impressive grades and a social life.

She says, “I work hard, am disciplined, and balance [and] manage school and gymnastics so I can succeed at both.”

Benoit  points out that, “every girl’s dream is the be in the Olympics, but it is incredibly hard to make it [there], especially in gymnastics”. As the image of the five notable rings has always been in the back of her mind, Benoit upholds the utmost pride and sense of accomplishment in all that she has achieved and looks positively to her future.

At the end of the day, the astute gymnast bears a nostalgic yet ardent mindset, coaching preschoolers and kindergarteners for an hour each day. Surely, some of these fledgling beginners will pursue an impressive and motivated path, following Benoit’s footsteps.

Benoit reminisces,“It feels like it was just the other day that I was the little girl who fell in love with gymnastics, and now I’m the coach helping other little girls chase their gymnastics dreams.”   

Benoit boasts Shawn Johnson as her role model and favorite gymnast, sharing that they each bear similar “strong and muscular” physical builds. She has met Johnson and acquired her autograph.

Benoit’s patent passion for gymnastics has undeniably transformed into part of her identity. She shares, “I have dedicated most of my personal life to gymnastics. Without gymnastics, I surely would not be the same person.”

Benoit will be attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, this coming fall.

    

 

    

 

 

 

  

 

Ragna- the new addition

 

By: Juliana Bird

The Girls’ Varsity Soccer team at AHS  acquired a unique new team mate who joined in the fall of 2014. Seventeen year-old Ragna Gjortz (known as Rags) flew from her hometown in Oslo, Norway to Arlington, Massachusetts, in August.

Deciding to try out for the Varsity Soccer team was a no brainer for Rags, considering her twelve years of experience. Rags said, “I just showed up… with my cleats.” Despite her little preparation, Coach Paul Austin was happy to be adding this new player to his roster.

Continue reading “Ragna- the new addition”