Girls Varsity Gymnastics · So Far, So Good

Ganim hopes Bears can compete among state’s elite

The Bears have a solid mix of veterans and underclassman that could make for a special season. 

Posted: Monday, December 22, 2014 3:40 pm By DAN BROWN The Post contributor 

It’s very early in the gymnastics season, but North Royalton coach Greg Ganim likes what he has seen.

While the team has just one meet under its belt, the Bears have a solid mix of veterans and underclassmen that could make for a special season.

And despite having to deal with the likes of state powers in Brecksville and Hudson to advance as a team to the state meet, Ganim’s aspirations are still the same.

“Our goal is always to get to the state meet, but it will be tough,” he said. “We will have to improve and hit to get to districts, which in our area is like a mini-state meet. We hope to do that, but with five of the top six teams from last year’s state in our area, it won’t be easy.”

Ganim, however, does have a solid group this year that looks to improve on the program’s fifth-place showing at the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division meet a year ago.

Leading that charge is senior Brianna Koberling. Fresh off of her first trip to state individually, where she placed 36th overall in the balance beam, Koberling is one of the team’s top all-around scorers.

But it’s what she gives other than her impressive scores that makes her a special performer.

“She’s probably more valuable as a leader,” Ganim said of Koberling, who also was a member of Royalton’s state-qualifying team in 2012. “She’s been there, done that and having been to state twice, she knows what it takes to get there.

“She’s as good as she was last year, if not better.”

The Bears coach admits, however, that Koberling is one of three all-around threats his squad has, a group that he’s dubbed “The Big Three.”

Joining that conversation is sophomore Haylie Haberek and freshman Morgan Lancaster. While both are accomplished club gymnasts, Haberek excels on the vault and in the floor exercise, while Lancaster is one of the top rookies in the area – evident in her taking the all-around title in North Royalton’s season opener against Nordonia.

“Morgan’s given our team a good boost,” Ganim said. “She’s just a great all-around gymnast.

“But between Bri, Haylie and Morgan, that’s our Big Three. Just like the Cavs have their Big Three, we have ours.”

Senior Tiffany Tarro also returns and has been working hard on her floor routine, according to Ganim, joining juniors Penny Kmitt (beam/floor), Alexis Novak (floor, bars, vault), Emily Kulig (beam) and Nicole LoBianco (floor).

Another 11th grader, Lexi Vitanza, has been sidelined with several nagging injuries in the season’s first month and is expected to be back some time in January.

Freshman Kaylee Napier is one key newcomer for North Royalton who, despite coming off of a shoulder injury, will add depth to the vault, beam and floor events.

“They’re looking good,” Ganim said. “We had our first meet last week and we scored a 129.1 as a team, which is a great score. This season should be a lot of fun.”