From Berks Gymnastics, to Division II competition, Alli Aquila has been participating in the sport of gymnastics for 14 years. She has been a national competitor for the past two years and hopes to use that acquired experience as an asset for the West Chester team.The West Chester University gymnastics team has already competed in 4 meets, including the Liberty Classic Tournament last weekend, where they placed fourth. The team as a whole has set a goal to score above a 180 this year. They fell only 1.2 points shy of their goal at their meet against Brown and SCSU on February 1st.
Regardless of her freshman status here at West Chester University, Alli Aquila is regarded as one of the standout competitors and has been given a lot of responsibility and leadership with the team. However, Aquila is used to being put in the leadership position and gets motivation from the pressures of it.
“I feel it helps me do better and helps me [set] higher expectations for myself. I also enjoy the pressure of having to do well. It keeps me motivated and striving to do my best everyday both in and out of the gym,” said Aquila.
Although she is recognized as a leader of the team, Alli Aquila feels strongly about the team aspect of gymnastics. It is a team sport, but each competitor is responsible for their individual event, which is calculated towards the team as a whole. The team’s banner, which adorns the wall of every home meet, reads “One struggles, we all struggle. One triumphs, we all triumph.”
That aspect of unity has played an important role with the team this year.
“Each person plays an important role on the team. If you’re not competing, you’re cheering your teammates on. The moral support we give each other helps us through not only our routines, but through injuries as well,” notes Aquilla.
Not only does Aquila have the pressure of competing in District II athletics, but she is also a duel major here at West Chester, studying both special and elementary education. A member of the National Honor Society in high school, she finds time to manage both her academic life and her athletic life. With school work being a priority with any athletic team, Aquila stays organized with to-do lists and tries to get ahead with her work.
Aquila looks forward to what the team has to offer for the remainder of the year.
“Our team score is improving every meet and we hope to continue that trend,” says Aquila. “I feel that as a team we will continue to get better. One thing we need to work on is our consistency. If we can stop having falls at competitions our score would improve significantly.”
Coach Barbara Cordova looks to Aquila, as well as the eight other freshmen, to lead her team. In their upcoming meets, West Chester remains optimistic and confident in their growing success. They are looking for a repeat win against Wilson on February 22, as well as a rematch against Southern Connecticut State University, who defeated them earlier in the month.
Amy Festa is a second-year student majoring in English with a minor in Journalism. She can be reached at AF649219@wcupa.edu.