In a year filled with firsts, Flatbush’s Athletic Program outfitted its first competitive gymnastics team, and they took to the gym in competition for the very first time on Tuesday night (5/31) in the Falcons Aux Nest.
With the combined impetus from Head Coach Lorelei Black and a dedicated cadre of Flatbush student-athletes, the Yeshivah went about the process of putting together the necessary equipment for training and competition, then took care of the most important elements – time and energy – to make the fledgling program a reality.
The girls competed on three different apparatuses with divisions in two separate levels. The rotations included Level 2 and Level 3 competition on balance beam, vault and floor exercise. Though the opposition was made up of girls much younger in age, the level of experience was similar, and the main goal of the meet was to give the Flatbush gymnasts their first opportunity to perform their respective routines in front of a judge for a true evaluation along accepted competitive standards. Though there was only one judge on hand, which made the event take longer than it would normally run, it was a great experience and the girls were still gushing about it long after the event was over.
“I loved it! I had the best time!” That sentiment was made jointly by Sarah Cohen and Esther Hidary when looking back on the meet, the first such competition for both gymnasts. Hidary expounded on that, sharing “the energy in the gym was high, ther was a great energy and it was so exciting!” Cohen was personally taken with the response of all who attended the event, beaming “everyone gave me a standing ovation!”
Mary Jajati, who along with Naomi Sanders is one of the team captains, was taken with the entire experience of both training and competing in the school’s new sport. “This is a real team. Being there every Wednesday after school, the hard work and the commitment, it all paid off, she said. “It was such a great time!” Jajati went on to note how the chance to compete really showed how she and her teammates have really improved over the course of the school year. “With practice every week, I did not realize until tonight just how much we have learned. I have a much greater appreciation for what Coach Black does. The preparation and her positive attitude every day really make it fun. We are so glad to have her!”
Coach Black was equally pleased with the work of her student-athletes. “For all of them, this was their first experience in competition, and I am so proud of them! They have worked hard, and they deserve all the applause they received. Of course, we are now looking to build on this, and we are already planning for next year, with an eye on scheduling three meets and adding the final apparatus, the uneven parallel bars, so that our girls can complete competition in the full rotation of events. I am so excited for our girls!”
It is the first step in advancing the program, but it is clear that the team has a good foundation, and things are only looking up for the Flying Falcons!
NEST NOTES: Esther Hidary turned in the team’s top performance, placing first in the Level 3 All-Around competition (highest combined score on all three events) with a score of 25.85. Rachel Nahon placed second with a score of 25.05. 3rd Place went to Sarah Cohen with a score 23.95. Jessica Vaysman finished in 4th Place, earning a score of 16.65.
Level 2 competition scored as follows for Flatbush: 1st, Margo Dayan; 2nd, Sarit Alkadaa; 3rd Danielle Tuachi; 4th, Naomi Sanders; 5th, Mary Jajati.
Level 3 Individual Event Placements:
BEAM: 1) Rachel Nahon, 2) Jessica Vaysman, 3) Esther Hidary, 4) Sarah Cohen
FLOOR EXERCISE: 1) Esther Hidary, 2) Jessica Vaysman, 3) Rachel Nahon, 4) Sarah Cohen
VAULT: Esther Hidary, 2) Sarah Cohen, 3) Rachel Nahon, 4) Jessica Vaysman
Level 2 Individual Events Placements:
BEAM: 1) Margo Dayan, 2) Danielle Tuachi, 3) Sarit Alkadaa, 4) Naomi Sanders, 5) Mary Jajati, 6) Sharon Matalon
FLOOR EXERCISE: Danielle Tuachi, 2) Margo Dayan, 3) Mary Jajati, 4) Sharon Matalon, 5) Sarit Alkadaa, 6) Orly Kamkhehji & Naomi Sanders
VAULT: 1) Margo Dayan, 2) Danielle Tuachi, 3) Sarit Alkadaa, 4) Mary Jajati, 5) Naomi Sanders, 6) Orly Kamkhehji & Sharon Matalon