Of her team’s wins this season, Sanders is most proud of their Feb. 20 meet, which they won with a score of 114.1 despite missing key gymnasts.
“We sent out two of our freshman and they held their own and contributed to the score,” Sanders said. “It was fun to see that and to see where the program is going.”
Sanders’ program has been trending sharply upward since 2017, when Savannah Schoenherr suited up for the Gym Titans in addition to competing for her club team. Now competing at Florida, she competed at North Oconee as a junior and senior and, in 2018, became the first gymnast in GHSA history to sweep the five event titles at the state championships.
“She was our game-changer,” Sanders said. “We’ve always had talented club girls (at North Oconee) who didn’t compete in high school, because it takes away from training with their club. Savannah did both and showed you could be successful and have fun, and the program has exploded since then.”
Sanders understands the importance of her gymnasts’ club obligations, which is why she emphasizes having fun when competing for the Gym Titans.
“I just want to keep everyone healthy,” Sanders said. “That’s been the mindset all season. I want high school gymnastics to be the fun side for them. I want them to do well and score well, but if there’s a certain skill is stressing them, then I say don’t do it. Be safe, clean and have fun.”
Though having fun is a goal, the Gym Cats have their sights set higher.
“We would love to bring a trophy back to our school and represent North Oconee,” Sanders said.