Arundel's Newhard, Severna Park's Whyte vault above the rest Coaches share in the honors All-Anne Arundel gymnastics

June 07, 1993|By Pat Overton | Pat Overton,Contributing Writer

The 1993 Anne Arundel County high school gymnastics season was a year in which fractions of a point decided meets and two underclassmen emerged as the athletes to beat.

The accomplishments of those two gymnasts also proved beneficial for their coaches.

Karen Newhard of Arundel placed second in the all-around competition at both the county and state-regional gymnastics meets while leading the Wildcats to the team title in both meets. She placed first in the floor exercise and vault, and tied for first in the uneven bars at the county meet. She also took first in the vault at the state-regional meet.

As the undisputed leader of the best gymnastics team in the state, Newhard has been selected the Baltimore Sun's girls Gymnast of the Year in Anne Arundel County.

Only a freshman, Newhard may be new to high school gymnastics but she is in no way new to the sport. Newhard is a seven-year veteran of the high-pressure club gymnastics scene, experience that she says helps considerably in high school meets.

"The scoring is a little easier and most of the girls aren't as experienced," Newhard said. "But that doesn't take anything away from the wins, though.

"In a way, it's a little more satisfying because the high school competitions are more team-oriented so you're not just competing for yourself, you're out there for all the girls. I'm just really pleased with how the whole season went."

Newhard's season is not quite over, though. She will be going to Florida to compete in a national meet this week.

It has also been a good year for Arundel coach Carol Nutt. The victory in the state-regional meet by her girls team was her second top honor of the season, coupled with her golf team's state title in the fall. Add that to the gymnastics team's victory in the county meet, and it makes Nutt an easy pick as the Baltimore Sun's girls Gymnastics Coach of the Year for Anne Arundel County.

Nutt's approach to coaching is hands-on -- a style she says is necessary for most of her gymnasts.

"For every Karen Newhard who has come up through the clubs," Nutt said, "there are two or three girls who didn't start until they got to high school."

Nutt sustained a severe shoulder injury that kept her coaching to a minimum but said that assistant coaches Brenda Reed and Ruth Janda did a great job of picking up the slack.

On the boys' side, Severna Park junior Jesse Whyte has been selected as The Baltimore Sun's boys Gymnast of the Year in Anne Arundel County on the strength of a first-place finish in the all-around at the state-regional meet.

It wasn't easy for Whyte who had to play catch-up during the meet with All-County teammate Todd Keyser of Broadneck. Keyser won the high bar, pommel horse and rings to take the lead. But Whyte came back with wins in the parallel bars and floor exercise, and had a good score in the vault to earn the all-around victory.

As satisfying as the individual victory was, though, Whyte took more pride in his team's win.

"That was what we were shooting for," said Whyte. "We had come close before and we thought this year would be our best chance."

That victory also earned Severna Park's coach Bonnie Habicht the Baltimore Sun's boys Gymnastics Coach of the Year honors for Anne Arundel County. Unlike her girls counterpart, Habicht sees herself more as a motivator than a coach.

"Most of my kids come in as good gymnasts and I just have to keep pushing them to be the best," Habicht said.

"I think that's what got them through the state-regional meet because things were very close right up to the end of the meet."

The state-regional title was the first for Habicht after several close finishes.

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