Column: The Packer gymnastics team could use some fans at state

Published 6:32 pm Monday, February 20, 2012

While I’m the first one to admit that I’m not a gymnastics expert by any stretch of the imagination, I can definitely say that covering the Packers at the Section 1A meet was one of the more exciting events I’ve covered in the past year.

Austin didn’t waste any time as it put together five straight floor routines that blew away the entire field to open the day. In the end, the Packers had the five top spots in that event and a trip to the Class ‘A’ state gymnastics meet, which takes place Friday at 11 a.m. in the University of Minnesota Pavilion in Minneapolis.

The Packers also accomplished this feat two seasons ago, but they didn’t bring a big following with them. The Austin crowd was filled with a handful of parents.

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This time around, things could be different. Austin is sending a fan bus on Friday and the gymnasts have already been trying to recruit fans to come to the Twin Cities and cheer them on.

Junior Abby Snater, who was on the last team to make it to state, said she’s hoping as many as possible will make the trip.

“We have a lot more people coming to our meets this season and having a fan bus is really exciting,” she said. “We’ve never really had anyone watch us (in the past) except for relatives and close friends. Having other people come, will be exciting.”

The Austin crowd was a factor at the section meet in Red Wing Saturday and Austin junior Cassidy Bawek hopes it will be again on Friday.

“Hearing a big crowd cheer for us really gets us pumped up and going,” she said.

While a lot of area residents and AHS students may not know a lot about gymnastics, it shouldn’t keep them from supporting their team and watching them compete at the highest level.

They might be surprised by the amount of athleticism and grace that is displayed all at once and will probably end up enjoying it.

One great quality of this team is they truly care about how the rest of their squad performs. It doesn’t matter if a gymnast nails her routine or struggles, they are always greeted with a hug or pat on the back by a fellow teammate.

This group has been working hard since the summer began and the state meet is the award they have earned in return.

A full fan bus is the least Austin could give them.