Grosse Pointe United gymnastics competing with state meet in mind

By: Zachary Manning | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 6, 2019

 Grosse Pointe United sophomore Cate Gagnier works on the uneven parallel bars at a recent practice. Last season, Gagnier won a Division 1 state title in the vault and the balance beam, while also claiming the all-around title.

Grosse Pointe United sophomore Cate Gagnier works on the uneven parallel bars at a recent practice. Last season, Gagnier won a Division 1 state title in the vault and the balance beam, while also claiming the all-around title.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

 Grosse Pointe United junior Amanda Nguyen practices on the balance beam during a recent practice. At press time, United was 5-1 overall.

Grosse Pointe United junior Amanda Nguyen practices on the balance beam during a recent practice. At press time, United was 5-1 overall.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

GROSSE POINTES –– Grosse Pointe United gymnastics coach Kristin Remillet sees no reason why her team can’t make it back to the state meet.

To qualify for the state meet, a team must place third or higher in its regional. United — made up of Grosse Pointe North and Grosse Pointe South athletes — hasn’t made the state meet since 2016 and has finished fourth in its regional each of the last two seasons.

However, Remillet loves the mix of gymnasts she has, and she believes her group is ready to compete with the top teams in the state. At press time, United was 5-1 overall with a first-place finish at the Fraser Invitational and a fourth-place finish at the Jeanne Caruss Invite.

“I’d really like this deep, well-rounded team to be able to make it to the state meet,” Remillet said. “That would be a goal, especially because we haven’t been there the last two years. We’ve, in past years, done really well and have been at that meet, so it was kind of a bummer the last two years to not be there.”

The team state final is an open class where programs of all sizes compete against one another. For individual champions, it’s separated by the gymnasts’ experience prior to high school, with the more experienced athletes in Division 1 and the lesser experienced in D-2.

United has 14 gymnasts on its roster, and a few standouts for the team have been South seniors Emma Scott and Elizabeth Byarski, and North sophomore Cate Gagnier and junior Amanda Nguyen.

Gagnier won the D-1 vault, balance beam and all-around state championship last season as a freshman; Byarski took first in the D-2 floor exercise and claimed the all-around title at the Fraser Invitational this season; Nguyen placed second in D-2 for the uneven parallel bars and finished fourth in all-around at the Fraser Invitational; and Scott took third in D-2 on uneven parallel bars and second in all-around at the Fraser Invitational.

With seven freshmen on the team, Remillet likes the way her upperclassmen have stepped up to help the younger girls get adjusted.

As leaders, the veterans have really been focusing on making sure everyone is learning new things, because they know that having a well-rounded team leads to success in regionals and at the state tournament.

“It really helps, because we can always kind of relate to each other if we’re having a difficult time. All of us have kind of been there, especially with us having some of the same skills or being with the younger freshmen at club gymnastics before,” Scott said. “I think I’ve been in club gymnastics with almost every single girl here, so I think that really helps that we can relate to each other with our skills and mental blocks.”

As the season continues to progress, Remillet wants her gymnasts to continue to learn new skills and perfect the skills they already have. She’s happy about the progress her team has made from the beginning of the season to now.

Byarski wants to reach the state meet, noting that it would be a wonderful accomplishment for her senior year.

“That’s a really big goal of mine, just because I haven’t been to the state meet since my freshman year, so I think that if we made it this year, my senior year would be really memorable,” Byarski said.