March 20, 2008
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford women's gymnastics is well into another very strong season and heads into this weekend into their final meet of the season with University of California- Davis. We checked in with Head Coach Kristen Smyth on Thursday for an update on the season thus far and the road ahead:
What are some things that you have been encouraged with this season?
Quite a bit actually. This group has been committed to working hard all season and we are starting to put everything together. Our last home meet against the University of Alabama and the University of Nebraska was a great meet for us and a big confidence builder for our team.
During the season, we have added difficulty to our routines and we have been able to compete the upgrades successfully. Liz, Nikki and Carly have added major releases on bars. Getting Allyse back in the line up this season has also made a real difference in the overall strength of our bar team. On floor, Lauren and Heather have added difficulty and we are hoping to have Liz and Allyse in the line up by the end of the year.
We have a big group this year---17 gymnasts. It has taken a while but I am really starting to see us come together and I am pleased with our team chemistry as we head into post-season.
The team seems to be coming on strong at the right time of the year, what do you attribute this to?
Well, I think there are a couple of reasons why we are coming on strong at the end. We have a record 17 athletes on our team and that has been a major strength of ours. We have been able to utilize our depth consistently to get lots of different athletes involved and keep everyone healthy over the long, grueling season. I feel we are strong, healthy and ready to go.
I think the goal of every team is to peak at the end of the year. We just made our big push, logged lots of numbers and we will start to taper off at the end.
Talk about the impact these six seniors have had on your program?
There is no way to measure what they have done for the program and what they have meant to me personally. Individually they are great but together, as a group, they are outstanding. They have grown so much in their time at Stanford and I am really proud of what they've accomplished in their four years but even more impressed by who they are as people. They are great leaders and role models, they are engaged in community service and they are committed to athletics and academics at a very high level. They are near and dear to my heart and I will miss them tremendously.
What are the keys for this team in the next couple of weeks to get
where it wants to be?
Our goals over the next few weeks are: 1) to stay focused during finals and the homestretch; 2) to push hard on conditioning and be in the best shape possible by the end of the year; 3) to prepare together by continuing to train as a team under pressure; and finally 4) always to have fun and enjoy the ride.