The Lemurs, Stuyvesant’s boys’ varsity gymnastics team, headed into the PSAL Boys’ Gymnastics Team Championship spirited and hungry for a city championship. The night before, Coach Marvin Autry gave the guys an hour-long pep talk, leaving them confident and optimistic. But, the day of the championships did not start out well for the Lemurs.
Many core members of the team were sick and feverish, including senior Martuni Nazaryan and sophomore Muhib Khan. The two were all-arounders, which means they were expected to account for a significant number of Stuyvesant’s points. While warming up for the competition, senior and co-captain Matthew Aleksey dislocated his finger, an unfortunate situation that might have hindered the team’s performance that day. Regardless, Nazaryan and Aleksey were still team leaders for the Lemurs, and Aleksey scored top scores in every event he competed in. “We just had a bad day as a team,” Khan said.
With three of its highest-scoring members injured, the team was put at a large disadvantage against its rivals. Although the Lemurs had gone 6-0 in their regular season meets, their wins against John F. Kennedy Campus and Fiorello H. LaGuardia were by less than a point. The two schools performed exceptionally well at the meet, going on to win second and first place at the championships, respectively. LaGuardia ended up scoring 126.5 points, while Kennedy scored 125.9 points. Autry attributes the difference in points between Stuyvesant and the top two schools to their intense practices. “JFK, after they lost to us, started training harder. Some of their kids started going to a private gym,” Autry said.
While chances of placing first or second at the championships were slimming as the events went by, Stuyvesant was still set on bringing back a medal. “Once a few rotations of events went by, we started having doubts [about winning first place],” Khan said. Its next closest competition was Long Island City High School, a school it had previously beaten without much trouble. LIC managed to get their highest score of the season at 119.4 points, but the Lemurs were still able to narrowly beat them out with a score of 119.5 points, winning by just 0.1.
At the end of the day, Stuyvesant went home with the third place trophy, which the boys were more than happy about. “If our team had been in tip-top shape, we would’ve come back with something better,” Autry said.
As a whole, the Lemurs have mostly found successes throughout their season. Being able to beat previous champions of their league, LaGuardia and JFK, during one-on-one meets was one of their major triumphs. “[Beating LaGuardia and JFK] was a pretty big deal,” Autry said. Many members of the team also qualified for event championships. Aleksey qualified for five out of six events, senior and co-captain Edwin Liu qualified for rings, and Khan qualified for the pommel horse event. “Overall, it was a great season—we just had very tough competition,” Autry said.
However, the loss of the seniors will be a major loss for next year’s team. Aleksey played a key role in earning points for Stuyvesant this season, along with Nazaryan and Liu. In order to compensate for these losses, the Lemurs must have underclassmen individual competitors to step up. With so many of their all-arounders leaving, the team will have to rely more on its specialists in events and put more pressure on Khan, an underclassman all-arounder. But, in order to improve and get ready for next year’s season, the team is having unofficial post-season training, which will encourage underclassmen to try new events as well as improve their techniques. “We plan to be working out into and during the summer and hope to get a lot better,” Khan said. While the future is uncertain for the Lemurs, Khan is confident in the team’s strive for improvement as well as determination to win championships.