Warriors Repping Heritage Red and Blue United by Love for the Sport

Gymnasts Face Last Regular Season Meet Before Playoffs


Grace Olson, Editor

Decorated in Heritage High School red and blue, Arapahoe gymnasts compete alongside their Littleton Public Schools teammates as part of an emulsified–and very successful–district team. 


“Our motto is three teams, one school,” says head coach Andrea Schmidt, a 1st grade teacher in LPS. “The girls actually are so close, and good friends, and really great supporters for each other. I would say we have a pretty tight-knit group. We have a lot of fun and do some pretty great gymnastics.” 


Part of that team culture is thanks to many of the girls being brought up together in club gymnastics with Schmidt. “I came in with a whole bunch of kids that I had raised, so I felt it was important to keep that going,” she says. “Now it’s been five years and I love it.” 


Placing second in the season’s first three meets, Captain Mariah Schmeling,12, says she hopes the team’s momentum carries them into a solid playoff season. A top-10 finish at regionals is needed to become state bound, and the team is confident; especially looking to Kate Bryant of Heritage to be a huge asset after winning state in both floor and vault in 2021.


“For me, I look at team scores,” Schmeling says. “I don’t really focus on my personal scores that much, because I either contribute to the team, or just do it for myself. As you get older, the personal scores matter because you want to do your best, but you just want to try to do your best for the team.”


But as close as the team is, the gymnasts from Arapahoe have found creative ways to foster this spirit in their own school halls. 


“We’ve definitely tried to make it more inclusive for all the schools, so we’ve designed Arapahoe specific gear because we’re under the Heritage name,” Schmeling says. “We’ve definitely tried to make more options where you can rep your own school, which I think is cool.”


With a crucial invitational at Cherry Creek High School Oct. 8, the team’s goal is to take down the Bruins. Schmidt urges students of all three schools to come out and support the girls.


 “The girls are very competitive,” she says. “You will see some really awesome skills and it’s just a fun atmosphere. High school meets can get pretty loud. …Just to have a student section would be super cool.”


With athletes from all three schools boasting a strong history of placing at state as a team and as individuals, their playoff season is worth tuning into. 


“You’ve got some really talented girls in your own school,” Schmidt says,”and it’s fun to watch them compete and perform.”