Wolves’ gymnasts are back on the mat

Eagle River fields a team after a year off


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Eagle River senior Danica Barto competes on the balance beam during the first meet of the season against South on Aug. 30.

MIKE NESPER

After a year off, Eagle River High is fielding a gymnastics team for the 2012 season.

And head coach Angie Bayer couldn’t be happier.

“I’m super excited,” she said during the season opening meet against South on Aug. 30. “It was hard for me to sit out last year.”

The Wolves’ team folded last year after their lone gymnast, Danica Barto, tore her ACL in just the third practice of the season. Barto said she’s recovered and excited to compete in her senior year.

“It’s healed,” Barto said. “Its still got its quirks, but I expected that.”

Barto’s shown no rust following her injury.

After finishing third all-around in the season-opening meet Aug. 30, Barto won the beam and floor to finish first all-around in a meet against Service and Dimond on Friday, Sept. 7.

Barto, who placed second in the bars and vault, is the first Eagle River gymnast to win the all-around competition at a varsity meet, Bayer said.

It doesn’t matter to Barto where she finishes at the end of the season. She just wants to participate in the Cook Inlet Conference meet.

“I just wanted to get back this year,” she said. “I don’t care if I place.”

Barto has two teammates this season, sophomores Celeste Gibson and Kallan Johnson.

“It’s nice to have other people,” Barto said. “I’m not all alone.”

“She’s loving the camaraderie,” Bayer said.

Gibson and Johnson, who have limited experience, are excelling early in the season, Barto said.

“They’re doing very well,” she said. “I’m very proud of them.”

Gibson and Johnson are good listeners with great attitudes, Bayer said.

“They’re really super hard workers,” she said.

Both look up to Barto, Bayer said.

“They see how hard she works, and they want to do it, too,” she said.

Eagle River is well represented despite its small team, Bayer said.

“These girls are strong,” she said. “They’re working hard.”

Bayer said the theme for this season is simple — have fun.

“We just want to have a really good time,” she said.

And Barto, Gibson and Johnson are doing just that.

“They’re having a lot of fun,” Bayer said.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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