Our Junior Olympic competitive team wrapped up their competitive season in early April at the State Championships, but our Xcel team has continued to compete as they gear up for their State Championships May 17th and 18th.
The Xcel program is brand new at Spectrum. It's so new that our bronze and silver teams are the first bronze and silver teams from Spectrum to compete outside of the gym. Previously, our Xcel gymnasts were gymnasts who had switched from our Junior Olympic program. Last year, we started an in-house Xcel bronze program, led by Coach Emily, and the gymnasts learned new skills and routines, which they showcased at in-house, non-sanctioned meets. At the end of last season, new gymnasts were invited to join our Xcel team, resulting in our bronze and silver squads this year. While other gyms have been competing in Xcel for many seasons, we at Spectrum are still navigating our way through this program, hoping to grow it into a strong, viable, successful program.
The Xcel program is defined by USA Gymnastics as, "a broad-based, affordable competitive experience outside the traditional Jr. Olympic Program to attract and retain a diverse group of athletes." In its infancy, Xcel rules and requirements varied from state to state. However, this year, USA Gymnastics nationalized the program, adjusted the rules and requirements (now they are the same throughout the country), and published an Xcel Code of Points, different from the Junior Olympic Code of Points. As a result, judges and coaches alike had to learn and interpret these new rules, which can often be ambiguous and vague and require a bit of creativity and trial-and-error. The beauty of the Xcel program is that the requirements are less strict than the Junior Olympic program, leaving more room for the gymnast to find the skills that work best for her, rather than being required to learn specific skills. Unfortunately, that ambiguity and freedom has its disadvantages: judges have been struggling with interpreting the rules and deciding what skills are credited and what aren't, which is frustrating to coaches. But as a coach and a judge, I understand both sides.
Luckily, because of the new rules in Xcel and the openness of interpretation, Phantom Gymnastics hosted the Xcel Tune-Up Meet in early April. In most gymnastics competitions, coaches are not allowed to interact with judges other than a, "Hello, how are you." Any kind of questions must be submitted through the Meet Director in an official inquiry form. But the Xcel Tune-Up meet is a "feedback" meet, where coaches were able to get feedback from the judges. With the new Xcel rules, coaches and judges alike worked together to interpret the rules and ensure that the gymnasts would have everything they needed in their routines for States.
Being a judge myself gives me a special perspective in coaching, however, I liked the Tune-Up meet because I valued having the extra sets of judging eyes and their feedback, incase there was anything that I was missing, or perhaps not thinking of. Emily and I got a lot of great feedback from the Tune-Up meet and started right away on implementing the changes suggested by the judges and tweaking the girls' routines.
Tune-Up Meet Results
Abby - 13th beam, 17th AA
Brittney - 9th beam, 19th AA
Elizabeth - 14th vault, 19th AA
Keirstin - 7th beam, 16th AA
Olivia - 14th vault, 18th AA
Skylar - 12th vault, 17th AA
Anna - 11th beam, 10th floor, 16th AA
Ashley - 19th AA
Katie - 6th vault, 10th bars, 10th beam, 9th AA
Kelsey - 20th AA
Reese - 2nd bars, 8th beam, 13th AA
Kat - 9th vault, 9th beam, 7th floor, 8th AA
Kelsey - 10th floor, 10th AA
Lindsey - 8th bars, 8th beam, 8th floor, 9th AA
Last weekend, our Xcel team competed in their final meet before States: the Spring Fling, hosted by Granite State Gymnastics.
Spring Fling Results
Abby - 4th beam, 7th AA
Brittney - 6th AA
Elizabeth - 8th AA
Keirstin - 10th AA
Olivia - 7th bars, 11th AA
Anna - 5th beam, 5th floor, 8th AA
Ashley - 10th AA
Jen - 6th vault, 7th beam, 5th floor, 6th AA
Kelsey - 6th beam, 9th AA
Reese - 6th vault, 4th bars, beam CHAMPION, 4th AA
Sam - 7th AA
Janiah - 2nd vault, 4th beam, 8th AA
Kat - 2nd bars, 2nd beam, 2nd floor, 2nd AA
Kelsey - 4th AA
Next stop: Xcel State Championships! Go Spectrum!
Peace, love, and gymnastics,
Spectrum Gymnastics Academy
26 Buttrick Rd
About the Author
Coach Sarah is a former Rhode Island College gymnast, NCGA National qualifier, All-American, current gymnastics coach and judge, and contributor for the gymnastics news source, The Gymternet. Find out what's going on at Spectrum and learn more about the incredible sport of gymnastics!