Four Wantagh High School gymnasts were in front of their home fans for the final time Wednesday evening and are soaking in their last precious days suiting up as Lady Warriors.
The four seniors on the Wantagh gymnastics team have been performing on the mats since they were old enough to walk and Wednesday’s final home meet against Garden City brought out mixed emotions from the tight-knit group. The Lady Warriors (9-1) won their regular season finale by a 158.55 to 121.1 score and are now gearing for the county championships next month.
“I have put a lot of dedication into this,” said Ellen Charalambous, who has been apart of the Wantagh gymnastics family since seventh grade.
Charalambous and the other three Wantagh gymnastics seniors, Erin Gauck, Genna Lerner and Brianna Quinn, put in long hours in order to stay in proper shape competing in events like floor exercise, balance beam, uneven bars and the vault. Quinn, who has won the all-around competition at nine meets this season including Wednesday against Garden City, spends four hours each day taking part in a gymnastics program in Brentwood in addition to being a key leader on Wantagh’s team.
“These are my closest friends,” said Quinn, who is going to continue her gymnastics career at Bridgeport University next year, on how special the Wantagh team has been.
The closeness of the Wantagh gymnastics teammates is what Gauck and Lerner said they would miss the most next year.
“We’re like family,” Gauck said. “We always support each other.”
That family environment has been what has drawn Lerner to continue her involvement with the Wantagh gymnastics team this season despite suffering a season-ending injury last fall.
“I still come to everything because I love them all,” Lerner said.
The Wantagh seniors will look to end their careers on a high note in February during the team and individual championships.
“We’ve been so close,” Gauck said. “We’re going to miss everyone so much.”