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The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

The Bronx Science Girls’ Varsity Gymnastics Teams’ Comeback in 2023-24

During the 2022-23 school year, the team took a hiatus. But now, the team is back and better than ever!
Grace Mao
Pictured is the Bronx Science Girls’ Varsity Gymnastics Team. Back Row (Left to Right): Benny Liu ’24, Ella Stanely ’24, Co-Captain Elise Boisson ’24, Co-Captain Caren Koo ’24, Monica Granda-Bunay ’24, Kaylyn Kim ’24, Gavin Zhao ’24; Middle Row (Left to Right): Coach Vasso Konstantakakos, Samir Simpson ’25, Angela Tao ’25, Simone Ginsberg ’26, Bethany Karlinsky ’26, Maria Savin ’26, Bea Hollweck ’27, Lydia Xia ’27, Jaclyn Eum ’25, Manager Maya Jowata ’25; Back Row (Left to Right): Jaydn Sinclair ’25, Nora Cassetta ’25, Lisa Nikitina ’25, and Madison Lee ’25.

The Bronx High School of Science has long been celebrated for its students’ academic excellence, but the school is also full of remarkable athletes who showcase exceptional skills and teamwork. The Bronx Science Girls’ Varsity Gymnastic Team exemplifies these traits. 

The team is led by dedicated Coach Vasso Konstantakakos (Coach K) and Co-Captains Elise Boisson ’24 and Caren Koo ’24. Fueled by their passion for gymnastics, these young athletes demonstrate not only  prowess in the gym, but also a commitment to the team and personal growth. 

This team is a diverse mix of talents, reflecting the dynamic community in Bronx Science. 

From perfecting routines on the balance beam to mastering intricate floor exercises, every member of the team puts in the hard work required to compete at the varsity level.

Competing in the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) adds an extra layer of competition and excitement to the team’s journey. The Bronx Science Girls’ Varsity Gymnastics team faces off against other schools in New York City, showcasing their skills and sportsmanship in a challenging environment.

However, the team’s success isn’t solely measured in victories; it’s also about overcoming obstacles and pushing personal limits. Each gymnast contributes their unique strengths that push the team forward. 

Whether they are executing a flawless dismount or supporting a teammate during a challenging routine, the Bronx Science Girls’ Varsity gymnasts demonstrate the true spirit of teamwork. Beyond the physical demands of gymnastics, the team also places a strong emphasis on fostering friendships. Caren Koo even said that the team has become a “second family” to her.

Early Season

The Bronx Science Girls’ Varsity Gymnastics Team has been actively engaged in a series of competitive meets, each reminding every gymnast of their dedication to the sport. One captain, Caren Koo ’24 said, “ I’ve been doing gymnastics ever since I was three (though I was never a club gymnast), and every time I got a new trick, it was because I just threw my body and hoped to land.”

There are four events for Girls’ Varsity gymnastics. Those events are balance beam, vault, uneven bars, and a floor exercise. 

Each gymnast begins with a score of 10.0 and gets deductions for errors made. Total score varies depending on the event and number of gymnasts competing.

On December 6th, 2023, the team faced off against Bronx Science rival Stuyvesant at the Bronx Science – West Gym, where they achieved a final score of 117.050, although Stuyvesant High School emerged victorious with a score of 130.600. 

Lisa Nikitina ’25 is deeply focused on her beam routine during a meet against Stuyvesant High School hosted in the Bronx Science gym. (Grace Mao)

A week later, on December 13th, 2023, the team demonstrated their prowess at Christopher Columbus HS’s gym, securing a notable victory against Christopher Columbus Campus with a score of 108.200, while the opposing team attained a score of 77.500.

The subsequent meet on December 20th, 2023 took place at Bronx Science’s West Gym, where the Bronx Science gymnasts dominated, earning a score of 103.850 against Dewitt Clinton’s 66.550.

New Year, Same Team

As the new year unfolded, on January 10th, 2024, the team engaged in another match at Bronx Science – Gym 2 against Dewitt Clinton. 

By the end, Bronx Science had totaled a score of 103.350 against Dewitt Clinton’s 79.100.

The next day, January 11th, 2024, again against Dewitt Clinton at Bronx Science – gym 2, unfortunately was postponed early with both teams reading a score of 0.000.

Continuing their competitive journey on January 18th, 2024, the team faced Christopher Columbus Campus at Bronx Science – gym 2, securing a commendable victory with a score of 101.500 while the opposing team achieved a score of 77.600.

Bea Hollweck ’27 performs on beam during a home meet against Christopher Columbus High School. (Maliha Chowdhury)

In the most recent match on January 31th, 2024 at Stuyvesant High School – gym 2, the team faced a challenging opponent in Stuyvesant High School. 

Despite a strong effort resulting in a score of 117.300, Stuyvesant High School emerged triumphant with a score of 126.300.

PSAL Individual Competition

The individual competition statistics for Bronx Science gymnasts across various appearances are astonishing.

On the Balance Beam, Elise Boisson ’24 led with a score of 8.20, followed by Maria Savin ’26 with 7.50, Nora Cassettta ’25 with 7.45, Bethany Karlinsky ’26 with 7.13, and Elisabeth  “Lisa” Nikitina ’25 with a 6.80, contributing to a total score of 30.27 for the beam event.

Moving on to the Uneven Parallel Bars, Maria Savin demonstrated excellence with a score of 7.20, accompanied by Nora Cassetta with 7.00, Elise Boisson with 6.00, Bethany Karlinsky with a 5.40, and Lisa Nikitina 5.10, resulting in a total score of 25.60.

The Floor Exercise saw outstanding performances from Elise Boisson, who scored 8.65, Maria Savin with 8.40, Lydia Xia 27’ with 8.20, and Bea Hollweck 27’ with 7.10. The cumulative score was an impressive 33.20.

In the All- Around category, Elise Boisson showed her versatility with scores of 7.650 (Beam), 6.000 (Bars), 8.200 (Vault), and 8.650 (Floor), accumulating a score of 30.50.

Maria Savin displayed consistent excellence across all categories, earning scores of 7.800, 7.200, 7.500, and 8.400, totaling 30.90. 

Nora Cassetta’s well-rounded performance included scores of 7.100, 7.000, 7.450, and 7.950, resulting in a total of 29.50.

Elisabeth “Lisa” Nikitina ’25 secured a remarkable first place in the Vault category, while Bea claimed an impressive fourth position.

On Bars, Bethany’s outstanding performance earned her a second place finish, with Lisa closely following in third place.

On Beam we witnessed Bethany’s brilliance once again, securing a second place position, while Lisa earned third and Bea earned fourth.

Lydia’s performance on floor earned her a second place medal and Caren Koo flaunted her skills as well to achieve fourth place in the same category.

In the All-Around category, Lisa got her well deserved second place position after practicing hard all season!

Kaylyn Kim ’24 peacefully practices her splits and stretches on the floor. (Yasmine Salha)

PSAL Team Competition

As we entered the Aviator Sports Complex for the second time this season, everyone was in good spirits. Nerves ran high, but so did the excitement.

In the final regular season gymnastics meet, the Bronx Science team left spectators in awe. Each gymnast showcased their skills across various apparatuses, resulting in a team score of 116.35.

On the Beam, Elise once again stole the spotlight, earning a top score of 8.10. She was closely followed by Nora with a 7.45, Bea with a 7.40, Bethany with a 7.35, and Lisa with a 5.70, combining for a solid team score of 30.30.

Moving to the Floor routine, Elise demonstrated her mastery with an impressive score of 8.60. Caren, Nora, Lydia, and Lisa also delivered strong performances, contributing to a total team score of 31.30.

Over at the Bars, Nora led the charge with finesse, scoring a 7.30. Lisa, Elise, Bethany, and Ella Stanley followed suit, showcasing their skills and adding up to a combined score of 23.75.

On the Vault, Elise soared high with an 8.00, followed closely by Lisa, Bea, Nora, and Ella, with scores of 7.90, 7.60, 7.50, and 5.70 respectively, amassing a total of 31.00.

In the coveted All-Around category, Elise emerged as the standout performer with a total score of 30.30, with Nora close behind at 29.85, and Lisa rounding out the top three with a total of 26.25. The team’s exceptional performance showcased their dedication and talent, leaving a lasting impression as they headed towards the postseason.

Senior Highlights

While some seniors were not starters, the ones who did start set personal and team records for the season. Elise Boisson, Caren Koo and Ella Stanley owned their senior season, and now it’s time to commemorate them.

Elise Boisson demonstrated her skill in vaulting across multiple meets with her highest score being a 8.200 at the PSAL individual meet.

On bars, her highest score was a 6.600 at the December 6th, 2023 meet. On beam, her highest score was an 8.400 at the same event. Finally, on floor her highest score was an 8.700 at the same December 6th meet.

Caren Koo demonstrated her prowess across multiple meets with her highest score being a 7.650 at the PSAL team meet.

On beam, her highest score was a 6.300 at the same December 6th event as Elise. 

Ella Stanley has participated in various gymnastics events, showcasing her skills in vaulting, uneven bars, beam and floor.

On vault, her highest score was a 7.000 at the January 18th, 2024 meet. On bars, her highest score was 4.800 at the Stuyvesant Match on January 31. Finally, on beam, her highest score was a 6.300 at the January 10th, 2024 meet.

Not Just a Team, But A Family

The team was prompted by myself to write secret messages to one another. The answers display how much of a family the team really is. 

From left to right, Maria Savin ’26 is cheered on by teammates Bethany Carlinsky ’26, Ella Stanely ’24, Lydia Xia ’27, and Bea Hollweck ’27, as she nails her routine. (Maliha Chowdhury)

Caren Koo responded to the prompt in the most heartfelt way. She wrote, “Dear my favorite gymnastics team, Thank you thank you thank you for being the best team I was ever a part of! You guys became like a 2nd family to me and you all have a special place in my heart.”

“Before I graduate, I wanted to leave you all with some advice! Never never never skip out on eating before practice and meets, as food is fuel and you need it to do your very best! Sometimes our routines don’t go as well as we hope to do, and that’s ok!! If you can take anything from this season, it’s the importance of having fun and supporting each other.”

“Could you imagine if we were all under crazy pressure all the time? We definitely would not have enjoyed coming to practice or going to meets because we would not have had fun at all. When in doubt, just remember… don’t think, just do!”

“Although I may not physically be part of the team anymore, I hope you guys continue to spread positivity to other teams, show good sportsmanship, and always remember to smile and have fun! Love you all so much & I’ll always be rooting for you! Go Wolverines! Signing out, Captain Caren ’24.”

Ella Stanley ’24 thinks back fondly of her time on the team. “Have lots of fun and play good music to keep the vibes going. Don’t beat yourself up too much because everyone on the team is extremely talented and amazing! Joining the gymnastics team is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I’ve made so many amazing friends across all grades. Love you guys so much.”

Maria Savin 26’ replied to the prompt with, “I joined this team because I missed gymnastics and wanted to come back to it, but the people are what made me stay.”

“I met some really great people on this team, and we’ve all become so so close. Believe it or not, with this crowd of people, even long bus rides and setting up gym equipment is fun.”

“Gymnastics soon became the highlight of my day and the team became my family.”

In the wise words of Stitch from the Disney movie, ‘Lilo and Stitch,’ “Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”

Whether they are executing a flawless dismount or supporting a teammate during a challenging routine, the Bronx Science Girls’ Varsity gymnasts demonstrate the true spirit of teamwork. Beyond the physical demands of gymnastics, the team also places a strong emphasis on fostering friendships. Caren Koo ’24 even said that the team has become a “second family” to her.

About the Contributors
Anayah Hogue, Staff Reporter
Anayah Hogue is a Staff Reporter for ‘The Science Survey.' In terms of journalistic writing, she finds it appealing that journalism allows students to express their passions through writing. She likes music and traveling to places where she has never been to before. In college, Anayah plans on majoring in psychology and becoming a clinical psychologist after graduating.
Grace Mao, Staff Reporter
 Grace Mao is a Managing Editor for 'The Science Survey,' where she edits her peers’ articles across various sections before they are published online. She enjoys journalistic writing because it is a way to bring certain topics from both history and the present to light. Her favorite aspect of writing journalistic articles is being able to interview her classmates and learn about their opinions on the topic she is writing about. Her favorite aspect of taking photographs is their ability to capture emotions, feelings, and memories, while also telling a story. Outside of school, Grace enjoys drawing, listening to music, and spending time with friends. She plans to pursue journalism in the future, specifically scientific journalism. Grace also plans to continue biology research and study biomedical sciences in college and use journalism to share the research she conducts with the public.
Maliha Chowdhury, Staff Reporter
Maliha Chowdhury is an Editor-in-Chief and a Social Media Editor for ‘The Science Survey,’ and she enjoys the value of truth that is expressed in journalistic writing. She loves the idea of spreading beautiful stories in the form of both writing and detailed photography, and she hopes to one day publish a piece that gains a broad reading audience. Maliha also enjoys photography, capturing moments with any form of camera, whether it is of objects or people. She believes that even one photograph can truly enlighten people by evoking various emotions in the viewer. Maliha is currently a member of the Photography club. Along with photography, Maliha enjoys writing all sorts of prose pieces, including dystopian stories, and also poetry. She also loves watching a variety of shows and reading novels. Maliha plans on pursuing a scientific-centered career, specifically in the field of Astronomy, but she still wants to hold onto the love of reading and writing for as long as she can.
Yasmine Salha, Staff Reporter
Yasmine Salha is an Editor-in-Chief for ‘The Science Survey.’ She is a proponent of accessible journalism, and loves to simplify complex and controversial topics in her articles – especially within the realm of Middle Eastern politics – which fascinates her. Outside the classroom, Yasmine’s biggest passions are sports and the outdoors, which are also topics on which she frequently publishes stories. Yasmine would love to pursue some form of creative journalism in college, and is currently leaning towards documentary filmmaking, since she is intrigued by the medium’s added dimensions of picture and sound when pursuing a creative interpretation of the truth.