CROWN POINT | For Hannah Best and Crown Point, confidence, concentration and consistent improvement are season-long goals on both the personal and team levels.
The Bulldogs gymnastics team is in a transition year with a completely different look from last season. As a result, the sophomore all-around gymnast has been thrust into a leadership role.
“I just try to keep the team going,” Best said. “Most of the team is freshmen, so they can get distracted easily.”
Best knows what kind of success can be had by a freshman gymnast. She finished fifth on floor (9.45) at last year's state championship meet. It was a personal transition for Best. The kind she hopes to inspire in her teammates this season.
“I’m more consistent with it,” Best said of the floor exercise. “It’s just getting easier for me. When I was in club gymnastics, it wasn’t one of my best events; it was one of my worst. Since I did so well last year with it, I’m just more confident. Now, it comes easier to me.”
While serving as a beacon of consistency for her team on floor, Best is also trying to improve herself in the other events.
“I think most improved is … bars,” Best said. “I got my double back flyaway (again). I lost it at the beginning of the year last year, but I got it back. It’s just more consistent and cleaner.”
It has been a surprisingly successful season so far for the rebuilding Bulldogs, and Crown Point could make another run like last year’s third-place finish at the Valparaiso Regional.
“Considering that our team has changed a lot from last year, I think it’s actually going pretty well,” Best said. “We’re doing a lot better than we expected. We’re all just pushing through it.”
Growing as a gymnast, Best is hoping to improve on her ninth-place all-around finish at last year’s regional. According to her coach Ami Pysh, the sky is the limit for Best.
“Hannah is doing very well so far this year,” Pysh wrote in an email. “She has consistently scored a 9.5 or above on her … floor routine. She is as strong right now as she was at the end of last season (and) I look for it to be a great year yet again for her.”
Concentration, confidence and consistent improvement are the keys for Best – and for the Bulldogs.
“I think (the goal) is just to keep doing what I’ve been doing and to stay confident,” Best said. “Sometimes I’ll lose my concentration or my confidence, but I know I’ve got to just keep my confidence with everything I do.”