The losses continued to pile on as the Lemurs—the Stuyvesant boys’ gymnastics team—faced off against Tottenville High School in its last competition of the season on Friday, February 12. With few strong performances in the competition, the Lemurs were edged out by the Tottenville team on its own floor, with a final score of 75.3 to 73.3.
Despite the loss, the Lemurs excelled in the pommel horse and vaulting events where they scored 31.6 of their total points at the meet.Junior and co-captain Kenny Ng attained a 6.4 out of a possible 10.0 in pommel horse as well as a season high 6.8 out of a possible 10.0 in parallel bars—two of the meet’s highlights.
Throughout the season, the Lemurs were hurt by injury as well as the loss of some key seniors. Senior and captain Masudur Rahman injured his back and knee early on and was not able to return to compete. Eventually, junior Sarvar Usmanov, who achieved a 4.8 in the floor exercise in the Tottenville game, replaced him as temporary co-captain. Two other seniors, Billy Guo and Ray Sou, also did not compete this season, leaving the team due to personal reasons.
Ultimately, more than half the team was comprised of juniors. Yet, some of these juniors were not very dedicated to the team and often missed practices. “This really left us in a pretty weak state since we only had juniors, such as myself, who were on the team for only a single year, and sophomores and freshmen who had only joined this year,” junior Lev Omelchenko said.
Coach Naim Kozi also felt that some of the members of his team were too focused on other things, causing their gymnastics performances to suffer. “Juniors were hampered by SATs and work so their performance wasn’t what it could have been,” he said.
Although the Lemurs’ 0-7 record did not qualify them for the team championships on Saturday, February 27, Ng, the lone qualifier, participated in the pommel horse, still rings and parallel bars events for the preliminary round of the PSAL Individual Championship, which were held at the Aviator Sports Center at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn on the same day.
However, Ng was unsuccessful at the preliminaries and did not advance to the Individual Finals at Long Island City High School on Wednesday, March 3. “I wasn’t tired at first when I hit my skills during warm-ups, but the time it took to wait between rotations just wore me out,” Ng said.
Unfortunately, this season was not what the Lemurs had hoped it would be, as the team lacked consistency throughout the year.“Usually, the seniors would take most of the responsibility training the new kids every season, but we had to take that full load ourselves,” Usmanov said. “This year was a mending year, where we got our bearings, our minds in the right place and a solid plan to come back strong next year.” The Lemurs plan on having some intense post-season training at gymnastics centers, including Aviator Sports and Recreation Center.
Despite the disappointing season, the team remains determined to start fresh in the upcoming year. “We are all very motivated at this point, and are looking for any way we can improve during the off season and the summer,” Omelchenko said.“We really hope, and believe, that next year can be a turnaround year for our team. However, it will in no way be easy.”