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Soaring success  

Last season’s Brockport gymnastics team celebrating its regional championship victory. (Photo Credit: Mathieu Starke).

The Brockport Gymnastics program has been one of the most successful athletic programs at SUNY Brockport. The program has won 10 regional championships, winning eight of them since 2010, including last season’s title. The team also made their third straight appearance in the national tournament, finishing fifth.  

The team was led by head coach Rene Lyst, who is entering her third season with the gymnastics program at Brockport. In her first two seasons, the Golden Eagles have a 30-3 regular season record, two NCGA regional championships and second and fifth-place finishes in the national tournament.  

Lyst credits team expectations and their ability to learn new routines as reasons they have been successful during her tenure.  

“Just having that expectation that we will be at the national championship, and we’ll be the best team in the east and having belief in our team culture,” Lyst said. “One thing that’s really impressive about this team is their ability to keep learning and getting new skills and getting more difficult routines…That ability to keep learning new skills and getting better is a really healthy part of our program.” 

With the loss of four seniors, including Kyra Figurelli, who played big roles in the team’s success in the last four seasons, Lyst is expecting great things from a few of her senior gymnasts this upcoming season.  

“Emma (Sargent), Natalie (Galioto), and Maren (Eramo) have taken the lead with the freshman class,” Lyst said. “Emma has only gotten better, she has improved her vault… Maren has upgraded her bar routine, her fall is very strong…And Natalie is a steady eddy, she is so good on beam…So those three are definitely going to be ones to look at to lead this program.”   

Sargent earned first-team All-American honors for the first time in her career last season. She also won the East Region Championship on the uneven bars last season and earned All-American status in the vault and uneven bars in the national tournament. Her love of gymnastics is what guided her to winning the NCGA East Region Championship on the uneven bars.  

“Personally, I love what I do,” Sargent said. “I love the uneven bars, especially and it’s been my favorite event for years and years and years… I was super proud to be doing that routine and so I felt like I had finally just reached a point that I’ve been reaching for so long and I was just riding the high all year and I think that’s how I was successful.” 

Sargent believes the team will need to keep looking forward and pace themselves in order to be successful this upcoming season.  

“I think we need to be lenient or have grace on ourselves,” Sargent said. “We want to peak in March when nationals are, so let’s get the bumps out of the way in the beginning… I think that is going to be our keys to success this year is to pace ourselves, to have grace on ourselves, so that we can be ready when it matters.”  

Natalie Galioto earned her second straight second-team All-American selection and won her second All-American award on the balance beam in the national tournament. She is impressed with the freshman class and is excited to see the impact they will have on the team this year.  

“They’re figuring out how to prioritize their time, which is also helping their performance in the gym,” Galioto said. “And they’re figuring out how to take care of themselves outside of the gym. There are definitely a couple of freshmen so far that have really impressed me, and they already have routines together and I think that they will be crucial for our success this year, so I’m excited for that.” 

Maren Eramo earned second team All-American honors for the first time in her career for her performance on the vault last season. The honor meant a lot to her because of the injury she dealt with the season prior.  

“I was coming back from surgery,” Eramo said. “So going into the season I had my fears because I did get hurt on vault… I just wanted to cut back my injury and show everybody that I could do it again… When I got it and realized that it was kind of a big deal, I was definitely very proud of myself and I think it was a great accomplishment for me, especially coming back from injury.  

Eramo’s teammate, junior Laken Sooy was named captain for the upcoming season.  

“She’s always in great spirits and if she makes a mistake, she puts it behind her right away and moves on to the next event,” Eramo said. “I think she is a great example for especially the freshman to look up to. I think she’s all around a great person for people to look up to and she has a great personality that everyone should strive to be like as well.” 

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