By Rebecca Kensil, Contributing Writer
Northborough – From a “Yurchenko” layout to a back hand spring, Algonquin?Regional High?School (ARHS) seniors Chloe?Herczeg and Alissa Wood have mastered many gymnastics stunts. Now their talents are being recognized, as both girls were recently named to the Massachusetts Senior National High School Gymnastics Team. The 18-year-olds, who are co-captains of the ARHS gymnastics team, will join the best of the state's high school gymnasts and compete against teams from across the United States in a national competition to be held in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., May 16 to 19.
Now that the regular season is over, the girls are practicing at the Massachusetts Gymnastics Center in Westborough. ?In addition to the team competition, the girls will also compete in individual disciplines at the national meet. In past years, the Massachusetts team has consistently placed within the top four, according to the girls” high school gymnastics coach Amelia Davis, who has hopes for the national title.
“If we can have a great meet, and particularly stay on the balance beam, I believe we have a very good shot at bringing home a national title,” she said.
The duo said their results vary by the day.
“I think all the moves are hard, but sometimes you'sl have extra energy that day so maybe floor or vault will be super easy,” Herczeg explained. “Sometimes you just have a day where you are really balanced and on point. You can center yourself well, so you'sl have a great beam day.”
The co-captains have been taking gymnastics since they were toddlers and have competed for private gyms as well as ARHS. Herczeg, who was the Community Advocate's Athlete of the Week two years ago, went to Brestyan's American Gymnastics Club in Ashland and then Gymnastics Learning Center (GLC) in Shrewsbury. At Brestyan's, she even trained with girls who have competed in the Olympics. Wood started out at Town Hall Gymnastics in Northborough and then attended GLC as well. She currently competes for the GLC Superior Team.
Davis is continually impressed with the girls” drive to learn.
“What is most refreshing about Chloe and Alissa is the fact that they continue to be hungry in terms of the skills they want to develop despite the fact that they already boast high-level skills,” she said.
Both gymnasts said they are looking to take a break from the sport in college. Both have suffered injuries, and they also want the opportunity to try other things.
Herczeg is deciding between Pennsylvania State University and Santa Clara University, which, she noted, both have competitive soccer teams. She plans to play that sport recreationally and study engineering.
Wood has been accepted to six different schools and is currently in the midst of deciding which one to choose. She plans to study nutrition, but said she is also interested in being an English teacher. As for college athletics, she noted that she might dance or teach Zumba. She also enjoys playing soccer recreationally and used to play lacrosse.
The athletes are looking forward to the upcoming championship.
“This is my time to shine,” Wood said. “This is the time to do the best routine I can.”
Herczeg added, “It's just the cherry on top of a great senior year.”
To see a video of the girls in action and hear them speak about their love for gymnastics click on the link below: