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Gymnastics Team Has New Coaches And Plenty Of Experience



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Newtown High School's gymnastics team has new coaches, as Head Coach Chelsie Eckman and Assistant Coach Juli Soracin take over, and former Nighthawk Anna Jannott, a club gymnast at the University of Connecticut, helps during her winter break.

Eckman continues to coach the Oxford High squad. Newtown and Oxford practice together at Kinetic Kids in Oxford, and the schools have the same meet schedule.

"They've always traveled together and a lot of them do club gymnastics together. They have a bond," the coach said.

The Nighthawks, coming off a runner-up finish to New Milford in the South-West Conference championships, again are striving to place among the top schools in the SWC and qualify for the state championships as a team.

In addition to New Milford, Pomperaug of Southbury, and Oxford are tough conference teams the Nighthawks face.

Eckman said earlier in preseason that she was looking forward to getting to know the girls on the team.

"I love having new gymnasts, so I can really help them be the best gymnast they could be," Eckman said.

The team is led by senior captains Sammi Olah and Sarah MacMullan, along with senior Alex Ferris; juniors Maddie Jannott and Liz Marcinek; sophomores Allyson Kenny, Amanda Brinkmann, Olivia Brosnan, Taylor Krikorian, Bella Manfredi, and Allie Tassiello; and freshmen Mary Locke, Anne Richards, Casey Sullivan, Monika Mihok, Malia Gioffre, and Kylie Giroux.

There are seven new team members - five freshmen and two sophomores.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," MacMullan anticipates.

"I'm definitely looking forward to making friends with the new girls - there are a lot of them," Olah added

Soracin said she has noticed hard work and dedication among the gymnasts paying off with enhancement of skills, and believes the culmination of the abilities of the gymnasts and respect they have for each other will help lead them to a successful season.

Newtown's season begins on Saturday, January 7, when the Nighthawks head to Southbury for the Pomperaug Invitational.

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