The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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May 27, 2024
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WHS Gymnastics Team: Starting the winter of 2025

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Credit: Sofia Ciciarelli
A new gymnastics team will be coming to Wayland High School in the fall. The gymnastics team will be the 35th sport at WHS, according to athletic director Heath Rollins. “That’s something that most people don’t get the opportunity [to do],” Rollins said. “Most schools, even schools three times larger than us, don’t have as many options.”

At the start of the 2025 winter sports season, there may be a new gymnastics team at Wayland High School. In order to make the team large enough to compete, WHS will need to join forces with Weston High School. The process began last year in the spring with two Wayland parents, Jeanne Chiang and Lisa Bagley, who wanted their children to have the opportunity to be a part of a high school gymnastics team. The team is currently only approved by Wayland and is waiting on Weston and the state of Massachusetts to officially make their decision.

At the start of the process, Chiang and Bagley spent their 2023 summer months researching how to start a new sports team at the high school level. While they were conducting their research, they released a survey to the Wayland community, as well as to their friends on social media, to see whether or not people would be interested in having a gymnastics team at WHS.

“We put out a survey to the community [and] to our friends [through] social media,” Chiang said. “[We] asked ‘Would anyone be interested in gymnastics at the high school level?’ We got a good response. [It was] better than we thought.”

Some students at WHS have shown interest in the new team. Junior Nicole Angelova has done club gymnastics for nine years, and has been hoping that WHS would implement a team. She has been trying to start or join a school gymnastics team since she arrived at WHS.

“It would be nice to have a high school school team because a lot of my club friends all do high school gymnastics, and they’re always talking about it,” Angelova said.

Once the summer ended, Chiang and Bagley reached out to the WHS Athletic Director, Heath Rollins, and Principal Allyson Mizoguchi. After the meeting, Rollins met with Weston Athletic Director Mike McGrath to discuss creating a co-op team with Weston High School. This means WHS students who are interested in joining the gymnastics team would also become a part of Weston’s team.

“This will not be a Wayland High School team, but will be a Weston team, where interested people from Wayland will be joining the [official] Weston team,” Rollins said. “I’ve [also] been working with Mr. McGrath over at Weston, to get them going there. They’re finishing their final approvals from their school and for the state before we have a kickoff meeting and get the ball rolling for next winter.”

Since gymnastics uses equipment, it requires a large space, specifically an open gym, to hold practice. Both Rollins and McGrath have started the process of looking at gyms around the area. There is a plan to rent out two gyms from two different towns near the area, one in Waltham and the other in Natick.

“The other challenge is the nature of gymnastics,” Chiang said. “You can’t really practice at home. It being a winter sport [there’s] basketball going on, maybe indoor track, it’s just not possible to have practice easily. So, another challenge is just needing to find out which part of the club in the area could have space and coaching.”

Rollins explains that since gymnastics is an expensive sport, securing proper funding for it will be difficult. The team needs a gym to practice and daily transportation which also makes the costs pricey. Similar to WHS’ ice hockey team, the gymnastics team would have fewer members than other WHS sports such as football and track and field. Gymnastics and hockey double the cost of WHS’ most expensive sports, despite the small number of athletes.

“The cost per student athlete is a big hurdle when compared to other teams,” Rollins said. “From our initial budget, [gymnastics would be] double our most expensive sport. A football team is expensive to run, but [since] you’re dividing that cost among 80 [to] 90 kids, the cost is pretty low. With ice hockey and gymnastics, where you have to rent a space outside [because you] can’t host on campus, those costs [get] very expensive.”

Some Wayland parents and Angelova have recently begun brainstorming some ways to spread the word of the new team to students. Some methods they’re planning on using are social media, merchandise and bake sales.

“We created an Instagram account,” Angelova said. “One of the moms is running it right now, but she has been looking for an actual high school student to run it. I was probably going to get the Instagram [account] and start posting on it. We were also thinking of making merch, saying ‘Support Wayland Gymnastics’ and then the people that are potentially going to be on the team next year can start wearing it around.”

Some WHS students who do club gymnastics haven’t been able to pursue at the high school, so some parents in the community hope that a new team can be an option for them. This can also serve as an opportunity for students who are interested in the sport but haven’t had the chance to participate in it.

“I just want the students to feel a sense of pride,” Chiang said. “If they choose to do something else in the winter, that’s great, but for those who really love gymnastics [and] have dedicated their time and energy to it, it’s a source of confidence and exercise. It’s something [to do] on those dark, long winter days.”

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About the Contributors
Marissa Mendoza
Marissa Mendoza, Staff Reporter
Marissa Mendoza, Class of 2026, is a first year reporter for WSPN. In her free time she likes to spend time with family and friends, play sports, cook, travel and play with her pets.
Sofia Ciciarelli
Sofia Ciciarelli, Staff Reporter
Sofia Ciciarelli, class of 2026, is a first year reporter for WSPN. She is a varsity runner for the cross country and track teams. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her dogs, spending time in Vermont and watching shows. Contact: [email protected]
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