SEMO Gymnastics begins practice for 2023 season
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The first practice of the 2023 season for SEMO Gymnastics on Monday began a little different than previous years.
After reading a quote of the day, how the Redhawks will start every practice throughout the year, the coaching staff sent players to their team room, saying they wanted day one to begin just like a meet would.
In reality SEMO’s locker room next door was filled with their team gear for the season. Players had been told it was closed for the time being. Once everyone was in the team room, the coaches surprised the players and brought them into the locker room.
A burst of energy to begin 2023 preparations, and it doesn’t take much to get this Redhawks squad going.
“We are a crazy bunch,” said senior Jordan Jones. “Always have hyper energy. Always going 10 out of 10. When we get excited for something, it’s going to be loud, it’s going to be proud, and it’s going to be good gymnastics.”
Jones added one of the biggest differences after last season is how much closer the team has become.
“Before we kind of struggled with bringing everyone together and everyone bringing everything to the table for Thanksgiving dinner,” said student-coach Lydia Test. “This year we’re really focused on being a team through every single thing that we do.”
The Redhawks’ team retreat to The Lodge at Echo Lake before the season began was a big reason for the change.
“At team retreat we learned a lot about each other and it made the connection deeper,” said sophomore Madison Greene. “Last year we didn’t get that opportunity.”
“We all got super close,” freshman Taylor Ingle said. “Knowing how to support each individual athlete on their own has been really important and really helpful.”
Head Coach Ashley Lawson has seen it first hand.
“This is probably the closest-knit family that we’ve had,” Lawson said. “We really worked on that and harped on that during our team retreat. They’ve bought in to what we’re trying to do. They’re excited. They love each other.”
The new level of team chemistry has SEMO chasing some lofty goals.
“We want to win our conference,” said Lawson. “We want to win our nationals, but we also want to qualify for NCAA Regionals. That’s something this program hasn’t done in over 10 years...Our goals are high, but this is the team that can do it.”
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