CRANFORD, NJ - The Cranford High School Gymnastics team is coming off of a very successful season. The team qualified for the North Jersey State Sectional meet and was consistently ranked in the Top 10. This year they also sent their largest group of individuals to the state sectional meet and had several individual girls qualify for the state finals.
The success of the season was possible even with an old floor (foam backed carpet on top of old wrestling mats) that is in need of replacement according to Head Coach Michelle Charney-Hulse, "The sport of gymnastics is constantly changing and becoming more and more difficult. The skill level of the gymnasts keeps increasing. In order to perform difficult skills, they need the appropriate equipment which includes a spring floor."
Although competitiveness is a part of why Hulse began a fundraising page to raise money for the floor, she is most concerned about the safety of her team. Hulse adds, "A new spring floor would be a huge benefit for the team. First and foremost it is a safety and health issue. In terms of health, the girls have ankle, knee, and back pain from a non-spring floor. A spring floor would take away some of the stress on their bodies. It would also have a significant impact on the training of the team."
Hulse goes on to say, "We cannot have the girls tumble often because of the wear and tear on their bodies. This is holding them back from reaching their potential as a team and as individuals. When comparing our event totals and team totals when on a spring floor and a non-spring floor the differences are significant. Our average event total increases by over a point, and the team total increases by two points. In gymnastics, this is a huge difference as tenths and even hundredths of a point make a difference in determining a win and a loss."
With safety and the well being of her players on her mind, Hulse started the fundraising page, she explains, "I started the page on behalf of the team and parents. The parents have been an integral part to the fundraising. It is needed because a new spring floor costs almost $17,000. We have some funds from hosting the Cougar Invitational and fundraising efforts done at the meet like a 50/50 and a mum sale. We have already gotten donations from CHS gymnastics alumni and are so thankful."
Also thinking in terms of how a new spring floor would not only benefit her players but those in surrounding areas and on other teams, Hulse adds, "Not every team in the immediate area gets to compete on a spring floor regularly. This will help those teams as well. We would be able to attract more teams for the Cougar Invitational as we have had teams that will not participate due to the lack of a spring floor."
For more information about the fundraiser visit the dedicated web page.