Preseason Preview: Boys Gymnastics
December 12th, 2002
On December 4, the Stuyvesant boys’ gymnastics team will competed in a developmental meet at Long Island City High School, the team’s first off-the-record meet of the season. “The developmental meet is basically just a meet in which we get to see how good the other teams are. It doesn’t count towards the City Championships, but it’s important to us, because it will show how hard we will have to work this year,” said Coach Ron Berman, who was an Olympic gymnast in 1976.
Thus far, the self-titled Freelancers (officially the Peglegs) are working assiduously. With rigorous two-hour practices five days a week, Berman hopes to “condition the team and get them ready for the upcoming season.” Indeed, the team has a lot of growing to do, with several key seniors graduating last year and two athletes seriously injured. “I injured my wrist early last season on the pommel horse at the Scrobe Invitational [Meet],” explained senior Anatoly Fayngelerin, “I used to be an all-around gymnast, but now I can only do the parallel bars and rings.”
Therefore, the ante was upped at try-outs this year—players were desperately needed to fill spots on the team. “Out of 30 boys that tried out, I took the five or six with the most potential on the team,” said Berman. “I decided to keep the team small because of the space restrictions, since we share the gym with the girls’ gymnastics team. I also believed that the team’s strength didn’t come in numbers, it came with a lot of hard work, dedication, and time.”
New to the boys’ gymnastics team this year is freshman Duane Le, an experienced club gymnast, who, surprisingly, is one of the top all-round competitors on the team. “I’m new to high school gymnastics, obviously, but I have been in gymnastics for a long time,” remarked Le. Much is also expected of co-captains and juniors Felix Zarotsky and Keith Lin, both of whom are all-around gymnasts, and specialists, such as vaulter David D’Urso and parallel bar and rings specialist Fayngelerin.
Whether or not the team’s high hopes for the upcoming season will be validated is still uncertain. “We’re definitely going to make second in the city, and first if we’re lucky,” said junior co-captain Felix Zarotsky. “La Guardia High School’s boys’ gymnastics team is a worthy adversary, and it will not be easy to beat them.” Coach Berman agrees, “La Guardia is our biggest competition, but if we defeat them in the championships, then we’ll be the city champions for three out of the last five years.”
However, the Freelancers have strengths other teams may not. “Most of the team went to private gyms over the summer to practice. All of us veterans improved our techniques,” said junior Matthew Russo. With the crucial Scrobe Invitational Meet on December 20 looming on the horizon, the team plans to keep working as hard as it can and do its best to meet the players’ potential. Zarotsky isn’t worried, though. “We’re a great team with few weaknesses,” he said. “In fact, I’d say we’re the best team in the school, and if we work hard as a team and as individuals, we can overcome our obstacles and win the city championship.”