Gymnastics Opens Fall Practice
Sept. 12, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. - The NC State gymnastics team began preparations for the upcoming 2014 season on Wednesday in Carmichael Gymnasium, as the Wolfpack held its first official practice.
"The first practice went well," said senior Diahanna Ham. "Everyone looked good and in shape. We still have a lot of work to do obviously, but we started off great."
The Wolfpack is coming off a season in which it captured the EAGL Championship and finished 26th in the final troester.com poll.
State lost two seniors from last season's squad, but has a strong nucleus returning, including two-time team MVP Stephanie Ouellette. The squad boasts six seniors throughout the lineup, including Hannah Fallanca, Heidi Ffield, Ham, Kristen Harabedian, Ellen Marion, and Ouellette.
"The six of us are really close and we are really supportive of one another," Ouellette stated. "We're all on the same page and have the same ideas."
The Pack's freshmen class is composed of Courtney Bisbe, Amanda Fillard, Courtney Leighton, Hannah Sobhan, Meghan Quinn and Jasmine Tverberg.
"I didn't know what to expect," Fillard said of her first practice at State. "I knew it was going to be hard and not what we've been doing, because today was our first mandatory. I loved it; it was a lot of fun. I can't wait to keep training."
Last season, the Pack secured a postseason berth for the 11th consecutive season. State captured its fifth EAGL Championship in school history and first since the 2009 campaign, while Woodford became the fourth gymnast in NC State history to capture the EAGL Rookie of the Year award.
"Our main goal this season is to make it to the National Championships," Ouellette said. "In doing that, we need to do everything possible to get there, that includes working hard, sticking landings, having a positive attitude, and always giving it 100-percent."
Senior Heidi Ffield
On the first practice of the year: "First practice went really well. Everyone was working really hard, cheering for each other and it went really smoothly."
On what is typically expected in a first practice: "I think we expect everyone to be very motivated and it kind of helps that we know what we want to accomplish this season. We want to have that motivation in the first practice and take it for the remainder of the year."
On how first practice of senior year is different: "I haven't really thought about that too much. I guess the underclassmen will be looking up to me a little more, because I'm a senior. I guess the big thing is to work really hard and be a good role model for the underclassmen to look up to and want to do the same."
On team expectations: "We have very high expectations. We have a lot of great freshmen and everyone else on the team has been working really hard throughout the summer. We have very high expectations and want to make all of that hard work pay off."
Senior Ellen Marion:
On leadership of senior class: "We have six seniors, so we're all trying to work together to be leaders on the team this year. We're starting a lot of different things than last year, trying to focus on everyone being one team with the same goal. At the beginning of practice, we will say `We will, we can,' because our common goal this year is to make it to Nationals. At the end of practice, we say `One team, one goal.' We are trying to all focus on that goal in the long run."
On first practice: "I thought the first practice went really well. We have six new freshmen and they all did really well. Everyone looked good. I think we will have a great season this year."
Freshman Amanda Fillard
On first career practice: "My first practice went very well. The team is very supportive and there was leadership throughout the whole day."
On adjusting from high school to college: "It is difficult to manage your time, with school, studying, coming to practice and lifting in the morning. I am adjusting. I am taking all of the basic classes in the freshman college. My favorite so far is English."