VPA Gymnastics Struggling With Numbers


Ten seasons, ten state titles for the Essex Hornets.

“We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of support in our community,” says Hornet Head Coach Ashley Godin, “We have always had a big group of kids, a talented group of kids, so we’ve pulled excitement, attention with the tallent that we’ve had come through.”

In recent memory the VPA gymnastics title has been awarded and stayed at Essex High School.  But with dwindiling participation throughtout the state.  The Hornets new concern is that there may not be many titles left to win.

“We’ve seen a drop of numbers in the past two years,” continues Godin, “This year was really tough.  Last year was tough as well.  When I was competing in high school we had ten strong teams.  And before that we had divisions.”

Last year, eight teams competing in high school gymnastics… This year it’s nine, but with a caveat..  The sport’s on it’s first of a two year probationary period.  And if there isn’t more participation in the future.  Next year, could be the last.

Essex Junior Abbie Gehsmann says, “It’d be pretty devastating for all of us.  We all see this team as kind of our family and the whole sports has been a part of our life since kind of a long time ago.”

At Essex, they’re struggling with feeder programs… The district recently discontinuing a pair of teams at the middle school level.  It’s a statewide issue that even has CVU and it’s nine participants faced with the possiblity closing the sport.  Now VPA gymnists have a singular message for young athletes throughout the green mountain state.

“Definitely give it a try,” Gehsmann pleads, “Because high school gymnastics is very different from Middle School gymnastics and club gymnastics.  It’s very team-oriented.  Definitely a lot of fun, and definitely worth it.”

Gehsmann might win a state title this week… But she’d trade it away to secure the future of Vermont gymnastics.  

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