Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


June 13, 2013

Boys gymnastics sticks varsity label

MIAA agrees to return high school sport to official standing


After that, the MIAA decided to delist boys gymnastics as a varsity sport because board members didn’t want to be in the position of having the association write its own set of rules for it.

During last week’s meeting, board members listened to the testimony and then had a lengthy discussion about who would write the rules governing boys gymnastics. Wetzel said the board agreed to work with the National Federation of High School Sports Associations to find an organization willing to write rules.

“A number of national organizations will propose rules for high schools,” he said.

Once they determined that the issue of the rules could be resolved, the board voted unanimously in favor of pinning the varsity label back onto boys gymnastics.

“I was thrilled,” said Manning, who led the Warriors to the state championship. “It’s such a good sport for the athletic development of kids. Gymnastics is a good basis for kids and teaches them determination and discipline. What we have to go through every day, five-hour practices, is hard enough.”

Manning, also a Junior Olympics competitor, said gymnastics helped open doors for him when he was applying to colleges.

“I’m going to Penn. State for Div. 1 gymnastics,” he said. “It made my decision. It made the whole decision. I was recruited by them. It’s the reason I’m going there. I would have gone somewhere local otherwise.”

Because of a bicep injury, Manning said he would “red-shirt” his first year, making him eligible for four more years of college gymnastics after his freshman year. He is headed to Penn. State in a couple of weeks “to get the best medical attention possible.”

But he will miss his years as a high school athlete.

“People don’t realize it’s a team sport,” he said. “In high school, you compete against other towns and other schools.”

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