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WINTER REVIEW: Marshall continues to show improvement and growth

Photo courtesy of Marshall gymnastics Pictured is the 2020-21 Marshall gymnastics team.

MARSHALL — The Marshall gymnastics team went through some ups-and-downs during its 2021 season, but continued to improve throughout the year with a new coach at the helm.

Matt Versaevel took over as head coach and helped guide his team through a season filled with growth and learning new skills.

“The amount of new skills that were worked on, especially in the last couple of weeks, was great to see,” Versaevel said. “Some of the girls had never competed in an event before this year and they made improvements throughout the season. We put in a lot of hard work.”

Despite not coming out on top in any meets this season, Marshall was able to show a lot of improvement both individually and as a team. Versaevel added as the season went on, he was pleased with the improvements they showed with each meet, especially on the uneven bars.

“We saw a key need on the bars; on vault we were good, but we had a lot of growth at bars,” Versaevel said. “We learned new skills and continued to work on the higher-level skills so it was cool to see the kids work on new things.”

Marshall had four seniors on this year’s roster, including Kayla Morris, Keanna Popowski, Maggie Tabaka and Amaya Williams. Versaevel said although this is his first year at the helm as head coach, he’s gotten to watch the seniors grow throughout the years and is proud of how hard they’ve worked and the support they bring to the gym.

“They just work hard and don’t complain,” Versaevel said. “When they weren’t competing they were encouraging everyone else and they were always there to answer any questions the younger gymnastics had.”

Marshall will return a strong core group next season, and Versaevel said they’ve been able to gain a lot of valuable experience at the varsity level this year.

“We’ve got a good class of juniors this year who will be seniors next year. They’re a good group of leaders and are very supportive of each other,” Versaevel said. “They all understood what we were doing and trying to accomplish this season and did a good job of helping each other get better.”

Going into next year, Versaevel said he expects his group to continue to sharpen the skills they’ve been working on this season and they can be ready from the start.

“Hopefully the girls can keep working on the skills they’ve gained and we can get more into a roll next season,” Versaevel said. “It’s just working and trying to perfect some things so we can do better at the section meet. Our highest placements were 11th and 13th, so I want to see if we can place in the Top 10 or Top 6 and go to state.”

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