Fraser gymnastics welcomes team of coaches to the helm

By: Sue Teggart | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published January 12, 2011

 Fraser High’s new gymnastics coach Ashley Neale, a 2006 Fraser alumna, talks with junior Casey Belback after she finished her beam routine at the Jan. 8 Fraser Invite.

Fraser High’s new gymnastics coach Ashley Neale, a 2006 Fraser alumna, talks with junior Casey Belback after she finished her beam routine at the Jan. 8 Fraser Invite.

Photo by Patrica O’Blenes

FRASER — The gymnastics team at Fraser High has a whole new look this season highlighted by a team of coaches to develop the program.

Taking the helm is Fraser gymnastics alumnae Nicole Neale, a 2006 grad, Ashley Ponder (2005) and Kristy Osebold (2003).

For the three Fraser graduates, being able to coach the program they were once a part of was like coming home.

“All three of us competed together at Fraser, and the coach before us (Stephanie Taylor) also competed here, so it was a smooth transition,” said Neale, who was an assistant coach at Mason High last year. “Just to be back at Fraser is awesome.”

Neale is optimistic about the season, as nine gymnasts are back and six others have been added to the roster.

“The team is very strong,” she said. “I think this is the strongest team that Fraser has had in quite a while.”

Neale said the team is already further along than it was last year at this point.

“Last year, when they started competing, they were hitting in the 120s. We started our season with two 130s,” Neale said. “We’re on track for a 137, and they are capable of doing it.”

“Every practice, we work on the basics and work up from there, so we have tight routines, we’re strong and so that everything comes together, so we can get those little points that will help us,” said senior Sabrina Jennings.

Jennings, the lone senior in the group, and junior Amanda Deneweth are two key all-round gymnasts anchoring the Ramblers.

“Both of the girls have made it so easy, because we’re new and things have changed,” Neale said about Jennings and Deneweth. “We can count on them to do anything. They’re a big part of the team.”

Neale said the team of coaches had a solid foundation to build on because the former coach ingrained the basics.

“There’s no way we could be where we’re at without (Taylor) teaching the basics,” Neale said. “It’s made such a difference, because now our kids can do the higher-level skills.”

With an established starting point, Neale said her gymnasts are working to add new skills to their routines in an effort to reach their 137-point goal.

“We have been focusing on adding bonus high superiors,” Neale said. “Ultimately, we want to go to states, so they just need to keep working.”