“Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” that classic Cyndi Lauper song from the early 1980s, was the favorite song played during the floor routines performed by the senior captains of the Hudson High gymnastics team this winter.
And, looking back on their last season in high school, Chiara Sarkis, Kylee Dobeck, Autumn Garceau and Lina Fossile loved all the fun they had under their freshman coach, Kaitlyn Rouleau.
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“I loved being part of this team,” said Sarkis, who noted the captains’ preference for Lauper’s familiar tune, minus the familiar lyrics, of course. “We had a lot of enthusiasm, our new coach was amazing and very supportive, and we worked really hard. It all paid off.”
The Hawks went 4-4 in double encounters, beating Westboro and Shrewsbury twice before finishing fourth in the Mid-Wach League encounter.
“We’ve had our share of wins and our losses have come in very close encounters,” said Rouleau, 22, of Clinton, who started competing in gymnastics at an early age and later coached in her town. native to Turners Gymnastics.
Rouleau, who came from an elite gymnastics background in the United States, transitioned easily to high school coaching and its different set of rules.
“In USA Gymnastics you have a specific set of skills that you have to perform, but in high school you can add skills and make them your own to earn bonus points,” said Rouleau, a graduate of the State University of Fitchburg in 2021 who was a competitive cheerleader for the Falcons and also started a club gymnastics team in college.
“I had great captains my first year here at Hudson,” Rouleau said. “I’ve known Kiley and Autumn since they were tiny gymnasts. They’re both from Clinton. Autumn is so supportive of everyone and Kiley makes everyone laugh. He’s the kid you go to when you need someone to pick me up.
Both Garceau and Dobeck have scored 9+ on beam this season.
“Chiara was like the mom of our team, always organized and making sure everyone was where they were supposed to be,” Rouleau added, “and Lina, well, in addition to being great at jumping, she was the loudest to support the other girls in their routines.
Fossil, who was asked to put his love for gymnastics into words, said: “The beauty of sport is doing something that is challenging both physically and mentally. And make it easy. Try doing a back tuck on a beam that’s only four inches wide and four feet off the ground. She then added with a laugh, “That’s not normal.”
Rouleau said she will certainly miss her four senior captains, but she is encouraged by the return of the rest of the team for next year, and that includes talented rookie Jennifer Cassidy, a star on beam and uneven bars, and Alyssa Davis, a talented, all-terrain specialist.
—Contact Jay Gearan at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @tgsports.