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Gymnastics hobbled but unfazed for invite

Joshua Irvine

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This afternoon, a group of boys in gym clothes crowded around a orange-papered board in a little-seen room smelling of chalk and body odor that spends most of the day locked tight. The boys were Hersey’s varsity and JV gymnasts, the board listed their event placement for tomorrow’s Prospect Invitational, and the timing couldn’t be worse.

The problem came in the form of the two juniors still clad in street clothes who watched from the doorway. They were juniors Damian Charczuk and Cameron Kasper, and they were two of the five varsity gymnasts who have found themselves injured at the season’s outset.

Friction burns, torn tendons even broken bones are not uncommon among the gymnastics team; one of the gymnasts staring at that dry erase board sports surgery scars on both knees from a pair of broken legs last year. But the situation is particularly dire; of the five injured gymnasts, which along with Charczuk and Kasper include juniors Matt Byrne and Scott Tangey and senior Sebastian Jackowski, only Charczuk anticipates a quick recovery, though Kasper maintains he’s awaiting a diagnosis before writing himself off.

Charczuk provided the bleak list; “That’s it for now,” he added with a wry laugh.

Junior Kaleb Sena stuck his head out from the doorway of the adjacent room, which houses the large foam mat where the boys’ practice their floor routines. “I have not hurt my ankles yet,” he declared triumphantly; the talk seemed to be testing fate.

Assistant head coach Mason Vernon, who hoisted a rope connected by a series of pulleys to a gymnast practicing a high bar routine throughout the interview, presented a more positive outlook. “We graduated a ton of seniors last year [and] we’ve got a relatively young team,” he said (last year’s team placed 10th in state and claimed the MSL East title for the second time in a row; outside this interview, Vernon has repeatedly expressed confidence in a “three-peat” winning streak). “We’ve been working very head, learning new skills, so the future looks bright.”

“Now to see how we compete yet,” he added.

The Prospect Invite will begin at 6:30 PM at Prospect High School tomorrow.

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The student news site of John Hersey High School
Gymnastics hobbled but unfazed for invite