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Wolverines’ Woodard aims to improve weaker events

BY JUSTIN RICE

North Stafford’s Anika Woodard showed last season she’s one of the best gymnasts in the state on bars and in vault.

Region championships in both events and Group AAA state meet second-place finishes prove that beyond a doubt.

But she wants all-around glory, and for that she must improve on floor and balance beam.

The region individual title was easily within reach last year, if not for low scores in her two weaker events.

“I don’t want to feel like that again,” Woodard said yesterday. “I want to place in every event, if possible.”

She’s changed her focus over the last year, especially on beam.

“I’ve really upped the reps on that,” the senior said. “It’s just repeating it over and over again.”

The problem on beam hasn’t been her ability. Woodard knows she has the talent to throw big skills. It’s a matter of repeating those high-point value moves during competition routines, and doing it consistently.

“I really had to improve my accuracy,” Woodard said. “It’s just another challenge for me. It was more of a challenge than I expected last year. It’s something I know I can improve on.”

North Stafford coach Annie Barr said they’ll tweak Woodard’s floor routine to make sure she’s taking full advantage of the high school scoring system.

“And I just need to clean it up,” Woodard said. “I need to be precise and clean and hit all my angles and flips.”

On bars and the vault, there’s not nearly as much room to improve.

She was well ahead of the rest of the Northwest Region field on bars last year, and she had a 9.8 vault at the Commonwealth District championships, and a 9.7 at the state meet.

“I know she has added some huge skills on bars,” Barr said, “but I’m not sure if she will throw them. We will have to see, but her start value was already a 10.”

A district, region or state individual title would be a fine way for Woodard to end her high school career, but it would also be the best way to help what should be a solid North Stafford team this year.

The Wolverines have five returning all-arounders, three of whom are club gymnasts. They open their season with a quad meet at Stafford on Dec. 7, along with Brooke Point and Mountain View.

Woodard’s primary focus has been her club gymnastics, but she’s found a different pleasure from competing as a member of a team.

“I enjoy the team aspect of it,” Woodard said. “It’s why I want to do collegiate gymnastics.

“It’s a new challenge for me, with people I know and a team that’s really tight knit. We all love each other.”

club gymnasts – we have …. I think high school and club gymnasts in their own way.

I enjoy it because … it’s a new challenge for me. with people I know and a team that’s really tight knit. I love those

Justin Rice: 540/368-5045

jrice@freelancestar.com

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Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/sports/2011/11/28/wolverines-woodard-aims-to-improve-weaker-events/