The UAA gymnastics team has staved off elimination, so a little thing like a pandemic can’t keep the Seawolves from holding a Senior Night celebration. Except it will happen in the morning, in a gym with no spectators and no judges.
The team’s five seniors will be honored and the whole team will perform Friday morning for the Senior Day Showcase, which will air on Facebook Live at 10 a.m.
Gymnasts will execute routines at the Anchorage Gymnastics Association gym, where the team has spent the season since their home gym at the Alaska Airlines Center is off-limits for nearly a year, ever since the building was turned into an alternate care site at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They’ll be wearing masks, so if you want to see a cool gymnastics trick done in a mask, this is your chance,” UAA coach Marie-Sophie Boggasch said with a laugh.
The season has been free of competition, but athletes practiced all winter as if there was a season. This is their second live-streamed exhibition, and it’s a chance for the Seawolves to show how far they’ve come since that mid-February event.
“Overall our level has improved since the last time,” Boggasch said.
Some gymnasts will perform competition-level routines; others will use the opportunity to try some new skills that may not be competition-ready.
“We’re trying to give every single student-athlete a chance to show off something in this unique year,” Boggasch said. “Especially a couple of our seniors — since they are graduating and kind of just playing around in the gym, we will certainly see some of the skills that they never got to do this year.”
The livestream coverage will included interviews with the gymnasts and a ceremony to honor seniors Hope Nelson of Newport News, Virginia; Kylie Reese of Eugene, Oregon; Louisa-Marie Knapp of Rellingen, Germany; Michaela Phillips of Homedale, Idaho; and Tere Alonso of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
All five are on track to graduate at the end of the semester, although some may stay to further their education, Boggasch said. All have been honored by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for their academic achievements during their college careers.