The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

Enloe Women’s Gymnastics: A Perfect Showing

Enloe Womens Gymnastics: A Perfect Showing

When Amaya Crowder, a junior on the Enloe Women’s Gymnastics team, woke up on Saturday, September 23rd, she was massively disappointed that her health hadn’t improved. She had been sick the entire week, so much so that when she tried to return to Enloe, her teacher recommended that she go back home and get well. With this ailment, it makes sense that she wasn’t expecting much excitement on that Saturday. Everything changed for Crowder, however, when her team started chatting about the meet taking place that day. Wanting to be there for her friends and teammates, she decided to make the trek to Raleigh School of Gymnastics, throwing a leotard in her bag just in case. What happened at the meet ended up being just another day at the office for our gymnastics team: Amaya stuck her landing, receiving a perfect 10.0 score on her bars routine. 

“[Amaya] has always had a really high score, which is almost a perfect score,” says Kylie Oliver, a senior on the team. “But the presentation must be spot-on to not have any deductions.” Even feeling under the weather couldn’t stop Crowder from showing out in front of competition from Broughton, Wake Forest, Millbrook, and other schools. “She finished her routine [on bars] and we all looked to the judges to see what the deductions were. Most of the time the judges will sit there and add up all the deductions, but this time [one of the judges] just shrugged her shoulders and smiled. That’s when we knew she got the perfect ten,” recounts Oliver.

Gymnastics is structurally foreign compared to most sports, specifically at the high school level. Teams, such as Enloe’s, do not participate in every meet. Instead, meet dates and times are assigned to each squad by the NC high school gymnastics sanctioning body. Meets last 2-3 hours and occur on back-to-back weekends before the girls get a couple of weeks off from competition. In addition to the highly tentative schedule, the team must be on their toes about each member’s performance status. Oliver, one of the captains, is in charge of “scratching”, meaning right before the meet starts, she has to communicate with her teammates and the judges to finalize which girls will compete in each event. “You can have as many girls compete as you want, but only three scores go towards the team score. If you don’t have three people competing in an event, then you don’t have a team score,” Oliver explains. Even with talented athletes, this is where Enloe commonly faces roadblocks. “At the meet with Amaya’s 10, we only had two girls that could compete in bars due to injuries. So we didn’t have a team score.” 

Not only do gymnasts have to consider the immense pressure placed on their physical body, “We’ve had so many injuries this year”, but they also must be in the right headspace in order to achieve higher scores, and most importantly, prevent catastrophic injury. Simone Biles, a four-time Olympic medalist and one of the most decorated gymnasts in history, sent waves through social media and the news by speaking on this topic in 2021. “Biles had a mental lapse that she calls the ‘twisties’, similar to the yips in baseball. [Biles] was doing a flip, lost track of where she was, and had to drop onto the mat.” says Crowder. “Her brain just didn’t allow her to continue her routine.” Spatial awareness and mind-body coordination are two keystone skills needed for safety when competing, so naturally, Biles spoke out to spread awareness of the adversity she believed most gymnasts face. 

“I feel like all the people that were giving her crap for coming out and saying how she felt either don’t know a gymnast, have a daughter, or honestly even have kids,” Crowder remarks. “It happens to everyone, it’s just accentuated in gymnastics, and it’s silly to think that she is weaker as an athlete because of it.”

Enloe Women’s Gymnastics, as coined by an Eagles Eye feature last season, truly is the “hidden gem” of Enloe sports. Once you look, it’s hard to miss the talent on the team. Oliver believes they have a legitimate shot at making a significant splash in state competition, a large reason she is so dialed into the health and recovery of her teammates. “I really love our team this season. As people and as athletes,” adds Oliver. “Amaya is an all-arounder—she competes in every event. Vault, bars, beam, and floor. Julia [Murawksi] does everything except vault, MacKenzie [Millwood] is one of the hardest workers I know, Karla [Ferreira] is extremely consistent, and Heaven [Mitchell] always brings the vibes to the mat.” 

The next meet in which Enloe is competing takes place on October 21st at 10:15 AM in the Raleigh School of Gymnastics. Another meet featuring the Eagles will take place on October 28th, exact time TBD. Make sure to come out and support, because with this team, you never know if something… perfect could happen.

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About the Contributor
Sam Wilkinson, Sports Editor
(He/him) Sam is a senior at Enloe and a first-year writer for the Eagle's Eye. He enjoys sports, specifically Seattle teams, and is probably allotting more free time to play basketball in his driveway than he should. You can find him working at the Durham Bulls stadium, hazardously attempting to make a new recipe he found online, travelling with family, or at an Enloe football game gathering statistics for the team.
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