Spartans draw small for opener

Experience might be in short supply but the numbers are big for coach Kimmie Marton and her Sumner High School gymnastics squad.

Experience might be in short supply but the numbers are big for coach Kimmie Marton and her Sumner High School gymnastics squad.

Marton, beginning her sixth season at the Spartan helm, struggled last year with a tiny squad. As of late last week, she had a roster of 15 – a dozen girls and three boys. The rules allow boys to turn out for the sport and compete in meets, but their results do not count toward team scoring.

“We have more than four, so that’s half the battle,” Marton said, reflecting upon last season’s skimpy turnout.

While her numbers are healthy, Marton won’t field a full team until the season is several meets old. Several of her gymnasts, for a variety of reasons, will not be eligible right off the bat.

The most experienced Spartan gymnasts are senior Michael Tiesta and junior Lisbet Fernandez.

A key addition to the lineup is Elishia Andrado, a senior who participated as a sophomore, skipped her junior campaign to focus on club gymnastics and has now rejoined the Spartan squad. She’s temporarily on the shelf, waiting out the effects of a concussion suffered during club competition.

Two freshmen who could make an immediate impact are Rachael Heckroth and Aja Ruswick. Both will compete in the all-around.

The remainder of the roster provides various levels of skill, some Spartans bringing club experience and others jumpting into the sport for the first time.

Marton said the numbers have breathed new life into the program.

“It’s just nice to have a gym full of bodies,” she said.

The Spartans kick off the season today, Wednesday, with a meet at Auburn Riverside.

Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.

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