Freshman Hannah Phelan Becomes a State Champion in Beam

Christina Coville

Freshman competes in individuals.
Freshman competes in individuals. (Photo/ The Walpole Times)

Imagine being given the opportunity to finally show off what you have been putting hard work into since you were a little kid. Imagine the nerves rushing through you. You have one shot to prove yourself. Only a few minutes to show off what you have been training for for years. Will you let the pressure get the best of you?

After a long, hard season of gymnastics, freshmen Hannah Phelan and Kaitlin Porter were given this opportunity. They continued on as qualifiers for the State individuals meet on February 16th. This meet was where gymnasts compete as individuals, rather than as a team, like the regular season meets. Rather than focusing on scoring a certain amount of points with the goal of a team victory, the gymnasts focused on sticking their hardest skills in order to achieve the highest possible individual score. Kaitlin Porter competed on bars, while Hannah Phelan competed all around (vault, bars, beam,floor). Hannah scored some of the highest scores in her high school gymnastics career and subsequently became the State Champion on beam.

There were multiple sessions at the individuals meet. Kaitlin competed at the first meet of the day because she qualified for bars. Sadly, Kaitlin did not perform to the best of her ability. Although Kaitlin is more than capable of scoring in the 9’s with her bar routine, she only scored a 7.5 at this meet. She fell on a skill, called a pak (a skill that she has been working on for a while), lost form a couple of times, and received a lower score because the high difficulty bar routine did not pay off.  Although the risk of performing difficult skills hurt her performance, she gained the experience which should help her in future years.

Hannah competed in a meet later on in the day. She qualified for all 4 events— vault, bars, beam, floor. She began the meet on vault. Her first vault , a tsuk, was impressive, but she took a few steps that hurt her score. She then competed her second vault, and stuck her landing perfectly. This amazing vault landed her a score of 9.3. This definitely started her meet off on a good note, and Hannah then competed on bars.
Bars is her worst event, but she still managed to make a good impression. She had a few minor mistakes on this event, but they were barely harmful, and she received a score of 8.85. She then carried onto beam, where she really shined. Her beam routine included a lot of difficulty, and to stick a beam routine like hers is very significant. She did not fall off the beam once, and made very few balance checks. She got a score of 9.6, which made her the State Champion.
With her top placement in beam and her above average on vault, she was an obvious contender for high placements at the end of the meet. She did well on floor, and also scored well, with a 9.3. She ended her meet with an all around score of 37.05 out of a possible 40, which is extremely high. Although she did not place in the top 3 for the all-around, she will most likely be a leading candidate for that award over the next three years.
With these two freshman gaining experience in this prestigious state-wide meet and with the addition of a new coach, Walpole Girls Gymnastics has a bright future for the next three years, at least.