GymCats start 2024 season hot after one-year hiatus in 2023

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Bainbridge High School GymCats started their 2024 season Feb. 9th after taking a one-year hiatus. Head Coach Brooke Vickers scheduled five events for the season including Carrollton High, two in Milledgeville, McDonough, and Breman. The team has competed in two invitationals so far this season and has “continued to master and excel in their goals for the 2024 season,” according to Vickers. 

The Varsity Team consists of Freshmen Anniston Brown and Dhara Patel, and Sophomore Bansi Patel. Sage Russell and Kiley Williams are two eighth graders who are competing up to form the Junior Varsity Team. 

“These young ladies are exceptional athletes,” Coach Vickers said. “They amaze me every time I watch them compete!” 

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Vickers said the season wouldn’t be possible without the help of everyone involved with the team.

“Our team is working hard every day in order to qualify for the Georgia High School Association State Preliminary in April,” Vickers said. “We want to thank our wonderful support system which has made our season successful. This includes BHS Principal [Chris] Merritt, Athletic Director [David] Mackey, our parents, Meagan Bridges and her squad.” 

Brown was named captain by the team and said she’s looking forward to seeing what the season brings.

“We have a team that is striving for a level of excellence that Bainbridge will be proud of,” Brown said. “We are putting in the work as a team, and it’s paying off at the meets. I’m excited to see how we will continue to grow over the season as athletes and competitive gymnasts. It’s an honor to be named Captain of the 2024 BHS GymCats.”

A total of eight teams will qualify from the A-5A division Preliminary Meet by averaging the top three scores during the season, according to A gymnast may qualify for an individual event if her team does not qualify by meeting the following criteria: An all-around score of 34.0 or better in three regular season meets and/or an individual score of 8.5 or better on Beam and Bars and a 9.0 or better on Vault and Floor Exercise in three regular-season meets. After the past two invitational meets, Brown has qualified twice for beam and once for all-around. 

The team competed most recently in Milledgeville on Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Golden Hawk Invitational. They competed amongst the 2023 GHSA Gymnastics Champions from North  Oconee, and Oconee County. 

Brown came in second at the meet all-around with a 34.800. Co-Captain Dhara Patel finished the meet with an all-around score of 29.350. Three of the ladies competed in two or three of the four events. Bansi Patel scored a 15.200 on only two of the four events which were floor and beam. Sage Russell scored a 23.6 on floor, beam, and vault. Kiley Williams finished with a near perfect exaction score.

2023 GHSA Individual All-Around Champion and Oconee County Senior Hannah Aoki competed at Saturday’s invitational and logged an all-around score of 36.000, just 1.200 points higher than Brown. 

“Words can not explain the talent that this group of young ladies display,” Vickers said. “But the numbers do not lie!”  

Next meet for Bainbridge will be March 13 in McDonough.