A high-flying finale
They ranged in age and skill level, but together they turned in a fantastic finale to the gymnastics season.
The Rugby Gymnastics Association conducted its annual spring show late last month to a full house at the Charles Hanneman Gymnasium.
“The kids did a wonderful job,” said Cindy Kuntz, one of the program coordinators. “So many of them look forward to this show, especially the little ones, and to see their smiles and how excited they are to be out there is so great.”
The groups who participated ranged from the Tiny Tots, the introductory level, all the way up to the association’s show team.
Attendance at this year’s show was tremendous, with both sides of the bleachers full. “That’s the first time we have had both sides of the bleachers full,” she said.
The program has about 140 participants, Kuntz said, and while a majority are from Rugby, there are several who come from surrounding communities. “Towner, Rolette, Wolford, Leeds, York, and even a few from Devils Lake come over,” she said.
The success of the program comes down to the support of parents and coaches, including Lori Miron, Stacy Friestad, Jeaneen Boucher, Kurt Weaver, Eric Kuntz, Stephanie Friestad and Ashley Salwey.
“In addition to the show team performing, some of those gymnasts coached the spring show,” Kuntz said.
The various groups practice one day a week and perform during community and sporting events throughout the association’s season. It’s those appearances in the area which also help participation numbers increase.
This year’s show team, which consisted of the advanced-level gymnasts, performed at halftime of one of the games at the recent Class B state boys basketball tournament in Minot. “They did a wonderful job and got a standing ovation,” Kuntz said. “They had performed a year ago during the Class B girls tournament, and we got a lot of compliments. Then the tournament officials in Minot asked if we wanted to perform at the B boys.”
The show marks the end of another gymnastics season, and for one gymnast, the end of her time in the program.
“I was emotional (at the end of the show),” said Ashley Salwey, a Rugby high school senior, who spent 10 years in the program. “I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a physical and mental outlet for me.”
Salwey, who over the years also coached the younger groups, said the emphasis is on having fun.
Safety always comes first, Salwey said, and beginning gymnasts must learn the proper techniques before advancing to the next level.
Ashley knows she is going to miss it but is grateful to have the opportunity to be involved in the program for so long.
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