Gymnasts take on responsibility of set-up, tear-down


Becca Fritz

Gymnasts Lauren Lubin and Tori Soria set up the mats for practice at West Geauga High School.

Becca Fritz, Staff Writer

The Mayfield gymnastics team is frustrated they have to set-up and tear-down their own equipment at West Geauga High School.

Samantha Svoboda, a two year member of the gymnastics team, is quite familiar with this process but said she wishes she wasn’t. The gymnasts have practice four days a week, three of those being three hours long, and the other one being four hours long according to Svoboda. Along with practice, the gymnasts have to set up the equipment they practice and compete on.

Svoboda said, “I don’t like setting up or tearing down because it takes a lot of time out of my day that I could be doing other things and I think it wastes a lot of practice time.”

Abby Withrow is a senior on the gymnastics team and co-captain as well. She said, “I do not like setting up because a lot of people do not do their fair share and I find myself doing over half the gym most the time and that gets annoying.”

Gina Gastaldo has been the head coach of the gymnastics team for five years and admitted the gymnasts receive no help from anyone else. She said, “The girls are in full control when it comes to setting up or tearing down the equipment. All me and the other coaches do are guide them if they need it, however Don Schutz, one of my co-coaches, helps the girls with the bars setup or if they’re too short to reach something.”

According to Gastaldo, it’s not easy accommodating the other sports that happen at West Geauga (where the team practices and competes.) She said, “I have to work with the athletic director of West G and the coaches of other teams like the boys and girls basketball coaches, and even softball and baseball during the end of our season, to see if they reserved the gym or if we’re free to use it.”

Svoboda explained the entire process can be pretty time-consuming. She said, “It depends on what [we’re setting up]; if we’re just setting up for a regular meet then it only takes half an hour but if we’re setting up for sectionals or districts then it takes an hour and a half to two hours because we have to set up both the warm up gym and competition gym. Tearing down usually takes less time because we all want to go home.”

Withrow said if they’re being timed by their coaches, it takes 10-20 minutes to set up. She said, “When we’re setting up for sectionals and districts it takes almost forever it seems like, but I would say an hour and a half cause we’re dragging mats in from the other gym, and we’re throwing things around and figuring out where everything goes and it’s chaotic.”

According to Gastaldo, she understands why the job can be so stressful to the girls. She said, “It really isn’t an easy task to manage, especially for a bunch of teenage girls. We have specific rules we have to follow, like where the floorboards line up, where the bars have to be set, and also where the beam is lined up too. It can get frustrating at times because everyone is yelling and things are just crazy, but they always get the job done.”

While Withrow has been a three year member of the team, she admits it’s not always easy putting up her own equipment. Withrow said, “It’s more hard in my opinion to set up because people are moving slow and sometimes there can be confusion on where certain things are supposed to go. Cleaning up is a little bit easier because we all know where everything is supposed to go and people are more willing to start working and hustling to get out of the gym.”

Svoboda said she thinks it’s hard setting up at the beginning of the season because they are not familiar where things go, but eventually it gets easier. She said, “But for sectionals and districts it’s always hard because there’s just so much to do and there’s a decent amount of us but not everyone puts in the effort so sometimes it takes longer than other times.”

While the girls both agree that it can be hard to set up, Gastaldo says that the girls are very hardworking, and a good group of girls to work with. Gastaldo said, “It really is a privilege having all these girls come and join the team, and then seeing them work together as a team to figure out how to maneuver the equipment, and making sure that it’s perfect for the other teams coming in.”