Greta Snaza, daughter of Darin and Beth Snaza, is the lone senior on the Milbank High School gymnastics team for the 2020-2021 season. Snaza is a four-year varsity letter winner who made her debut as an alternate when she was in eighth grade. She qualified for individual state meet appearances in all four events, as well as all-around, for the past three years.
Other returning letter winners include: juniors Dani Yamaura and Maddison Mathews; sophomore Rylie Overby; and freshman Aubrey Fraasch. Other gymnasts looking to score some varsity competition time are sophomore Zoe Theis, freshman Amara McLain, and eighth grader Hannah Brown. Girls looking to get some junior varsity experience include eighth graders Johana Jimenez, Ava Lovgren, and Gemma Street.
Milbank is in its fourth year as a co-op with Ortonville and its third year with Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (CGB). Fraasch is heading into her sixth season at the helm and her 13th year with MHS gymnastics. She welcomes back assistant coaches Karla DeVaal (13th year), Amy Yamaura (6th year), and Kelly Wollschlager (3rd year). “The coaching staff brings a variety of skill sets and years of experience to the team,” Fraasch says. “We are excited to see what this year will bring.”
The Lady Bulldogs chose the theme “Expect the Unexpected” for the 2020-2021 season. Fraasch
noted that being in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, anything could change at any time. She continued, “The team that adapts to the changing rules and requirements and adjusts with the least amount of disruption will be the team that comes out ahead.”
A major goal this year is to remain healthy. “This season, we don’t just want to stay injury free, we want to stay out of quarantine, whether that is from positive testing or contact tracing. Quarantine means two weeks without practice and missed meets. Going backwards is not an option. We were prepared for Covid to affect our numbers. We lost gymnasts who are ineligible for activities because they are distance
learning and others who have chosen not to participate because of the situation We are seeing lower
numbers across the state, so safety is a priority in the gym,” explained Fraasch.
According to Coach Fraasch, gymnasts must now purchase and use their own chalk bucket, chalk, clippers, and grip water bottles and brushes so they do not share these items. The meets will also be different. “Typically, we warm up all the events prior to the start of the meet and then compete each event. This year, we will warmup an event, compete that event, and then move to the next event. This limits the number of times that we touch an apparatus. This will make the meet go faster for the gymnasts and coaches, but longer for the judges and spectators who usually are not there during warmups.”
“Many of our meets are large invitationals due to a limited number of judges in the state,” Fraasch says. “Meets of this kind would be long as each team would wait multiple byes before completing an event. Therefore, teams will compete in pod format — four teams will compete at one time. When they are done with all four, they will go home. There will not be awards.”
Milbank’s only home meet is scheduled for Saturday, December 19, at 11 a.m.