Big crop of freshman talent to boost Twinsburg gymnastics

Steve Batko

Putting aside an abnormal pre-season, the Twinsburg gymnastics program has the pieces to be successful.

Twinsburg gymnastics' senior class includes, from left, Abbey Maurer, Lexi Frazier, Sajal Mutter and Katy Okuma.

Including one of the more remarkable freshman classes in the program’s history, Twinsburg has a bright outlook for the future.

Second-year head coach Maggie Benedetti is excited about the program’s outlook.

In fact, the only problem is Benedetti trying to remain patient with her youthful gymnasts.

Twinsburg will miss key graduates from last year in Jenna Post, Rylie Page and Pallavi Vembar.

Returning gymnasts include senior Lexi Frazier, senior Abbey Maurer, senior Katy Okuma, junior Ellie Kneisel, sophomore Chelsea Beers and sophomore Cece Radicelli.

Okuma is a veteran who can be used in any event and is one of the Lady Tigers that will compete in the all around competition.

Frazier (vault and floor exercise) and Maurer (vault), along with Kneisel (vault, floor and balance beam), possess tremendous experience.

The trio of seniors has over 10 years of experience between them. Benedetti will lean on the program’s veterans as Benedetti is the lone coach for the Tiger squad.

“Our focus now is putting routines together,” said Benedetti. “We are trying to get our highest team score Twinsburg has ever had and to have district contenders.”

Twinsburg’s two other returnees - Beers (bars) and Radicelli (floor and bars) — also have a solid combination of experience and potential for the future.

The freshman class includes Alyssa Whitescarver, Josie Davis, Ella Coyne, Cassandra Appell and Katie Novak.

“All of our freshmen are very talented and they did club gymnastics,” said Benedetti.

Whitescarver, Davis, and Novak are all around competitors for the Tigers while immediate contributions will come from Coyne on the bars, floor exercise and on the beam, plus Appell, who can help in the floor exercise and on the beam.

Benedetti is hopeful to create solid depth in each event as the top performers could fluctuate in the events.

On the bars, Whitescarver, Novak and Coyne could be the top athletes according to the coach.

Davis and Whitescarver will be leaders with their floor exercise as Benedetti focuses on routines and difficulty levels.

Okuma, Kneisel and Appell should be among the top performers on the beam, according to Benedetti, who pointed to Okuma and Davis for being standouts on the vault.

In the all around competition, the coach cited Whitescarver and Okuma as early leaders.

“This is probably one of the strongest gymnastics teams Twinsburg has ever had,” proclaimed Benedetti. “I’m very excited to see where these girls can go.”

Twinsburg opened the season Saturday at its home site: Gym World Twinsburg.

Benedetti and the Twinsburg Athletic Department are working on adding two or more meets and those have yet to be determined.

“Right now, we are working on getting more meets since we started late,” declared Benedetti.

Post season dates and details will be coming, but many of the Tigers have post season experience. Twinsburg’s team depth will obviously be much improved this winter and beyond.

Kneisel shined in last year’s sectional meet as she posted a team-best of 8.425 on the beam, which placed her 21st overall. She also was 31st in the all-around with a 31.775, had an 8.10 floor exercise score, and had a 7.9 mark on the vault.

Frazier finished 33rd on the vault with a total of 8.10 and had a 7.075 mark on the beam.

In her post season debut as a freshman a year ago, Beers performed well on the vault with a mark of 7.650 and had a 6.325 mark on the beam.

Okuma and Maurer also have plenty of post season and league meet experience as well.

The Tiger program is hopeful that this season’s large and talented cast of freshmen will have an opportunity to compete in their inaugural post season meet.

Benedetti is especially striving for meets this winter for her small, but spirited senior class to mark some special memories for their final season.