Tag Archives: gymnastics

Sports Star: Kristen Kangas, captain, Benjamin Cardozo HS gymnastics team


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Name: Kristen Kangas
School: Benjamin Cardozo High School
Grade: Senior
Sport: Gymnastics

Kristen Kangas is the captain of Benjamin Cardozo High School girls gymnastics team, and has led her squad to the top of the PSAL this year. Coach Richard Parascos calls her the “heart and soul” of the team, and Kangas is consistently ranked in the top 25 in the city in all four gymnastic events; balance beam, uneven parallel bars, floor exercise and vaulting. In her sophomore year she helped start the school’s cheerleading team. She has held part-time jobs in recent summers, working as an office assistant at St. John’s University and last year at Long Island Care Center nursing home. Kangas is dyslexic, but enjoys sports and helping others, so she aspires to be a physical therapist. She has applied to several SUNY schools, including Potsdam, Fredonia, Cortland and Plattsburgh.

Why do you do enjoy gymnastics and other extracurricular activities?
“Teenagers could be very dangerous without goals. When teenagers don’t do something, they get into trouble. I like being involved and I like socializing.”

How does it feel to lead younger teammates?
“I love it, because not only am I helping them, but you help yourself at the same time.”

Why do you aspire to be a physical therapist?
“I love doing sports in general and I care for people. I feel like a combination of those two is physical therapy. I feel like it’s me.”

How does being dyslexic affect you?
“A lot of kids that have it don’t know they have it and they struggle in school, but I have it and really try in school. The difference between someone who has it and doesn’t have it is that you have to really work and that’s like my whole life, I work for everything I do.”

 

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SFP’s gymnastic team maintains balance as they look toward another championship


| ncarousso@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Shay Bendeck

The Saint Francis Prep Terriers gymnastics team — the reigning Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) champions — won their first two meets of the season against the Kellenberg Firebirds and the Holy Trinity Titans last week.

Each gymnast has their strengths on the four apparatuses they compete on: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and the floor routine. Head Coach Kamla Modi strategizes the Terriers’ event lineup according to many factors including the competition as well as her gymnasts’ strengths and capabilities, which vary by day due to common injuries in the sport.

Two days after defeating Kellenberg 164.5-157.9 on October 2, the Terriers beat Holy Trinity 166.55-152.35 on Thursday, October 4. Led by sophomore Khayla Martinez-Reyes, junior Veronica Cusack and seniors Jennifer Nicola, Alexis Holuka and captain Marisa Marden, the Terriers were productive on each apparatus.

Martinez-Reyes, who will represent the Terriers individually at the championships, held at The Prep this year on Saturday, October 27, performed beautifully on each apparatus, notably the uneven bars and the vault.

“Since I was four [years old] I just loved doing crazy flips and moves – just natural to me,” Martinez-Reyes said.

Cusack performed an admirable beam routine and capped off her night with a flawless floor routine.

“It’s pretty difficult,” Cusack said of the beam routine. “Most of it is staying focused on what you have to do and not psyching yourself out.”

The floor routine’s difficulty is the choreography and mixing dance moves with gymnastic elements. Cusack explained her process for the floor routine, “I first listen to the music and then see what kind of dances I can do with it and any type of style that would go with the tango.”

Cusack chose tango music this season. Each gymnast picks out her own music for her floor routine.

Holuka also had a sound floor routine, following a difficult beam.

“I did get hurt during [the beam], but I pulled through and did what I did,” said an enthusiastic Holuka. She explained that she got an “adrenaline rush” after her beam routine leading into her floor routine.

The close-knit team looks to the captain, Marden, for advice.

After the meet on October 4, Marden said, “Today I told them: don’t give up, don’t slack, we still need to work hard.”

The Terriers have a total of six meets, competing against three different teams this season before the championships, where each team in the CHSAA competes in team and individual events.

“I think we have a good chance of winning championships again this year, so I am very excited,” Marden said.