RFH To Launch New Gymnastics Program This Fall

June 13, 2018
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RFH Gymnastics executive board members with their daughters at Barnstormers of Rumson. Front row, from left: Cate Sullivan, Ava Strandberg, Dylan Connone, Sienne Frangione. Back row, from left: Catherine Sullivan, Stacey Strandberg, Stacy Connone, Richelle Frangione. Photo by Lynne Ward

By Chris Rotolo |

RUMSON – A new opportunity is available for members of the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School student body, as the Bulldogs have announced the addition of a girls’ gymnastics program to their selection of athletics offerings.

Beginning in the fall, Rumson-Fair Haven will compete in the Class A North division alongside such Two River-area programs as Middletown North, Middletown South, St. John Vianney and Red Bank Catholic, as well as other Shore Conference outfits like Monmouth Regional, Ocean Township, Wall Township and Shore Regional.

The gymnastics program was founded by Rumson-Fair Haven parents Stacy Connone and Stacey Strandberg, who are serving as the president and vice president, respectively, of the RFH Girls Gymnastics Booster Executive Board. Connone said the program was born out of athletic and academic necessity. “As parents with girls who are competitive gymnasts, and with some of them about to begin their high school years, the conversations at home were focused around which schools our daughters would be able to attend that not only had high academic standards, but also allowed them to compete in gymnastics,” Connone said. “As local residents, RFH was the obvious answer for us. But first there needed to be a team.” According to Strandberg, the Rumson and Fair Haven communities are home to many competitive gymnasts who want to represent their home school, compelling her, Connone and the rest of the Executive Board to act. “There are a lot of girls in town who compete with a number of different clubs throughout Monmouth County and are eager to and excited about the opportunity to represent their school and their communities,” Strandberg said.

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The process to start the Bulldogs gymnastics program began in October 2017, when Connone and Standberg delivered a proposal to Rumson- Fair Haven director of athletics Chris Lanzalotto. The proposal included a plan to have a gymnastics program ready to compete for the 2018-19 school year. After receiving support from the Lanzalotto, they took their presentation to the Rumson-Fair Haven Board of Education earlier this year, where it was once again endorsed. “Mr. Lanzalotto and the Rumson-Fair Haven Board of Education have been very supportive of the idea and our goal to have the team ready for next school year,” Strandberg said. “And we’re on track to have everything ready.”

According to New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) regulations, a gymnastics program needs at minimum three members to compete as a team, a number of participants Connone is confident will be met. “We’ve already received a lot of great feedback from the community and already know of a few girls who have expressed interest in starting the program this fall. We’re encouraging anyone who is interested to reach out and get involved.”

According to Connone and Strandberg, the gymnastics program will be completely self- funded. Program costs will be offset by the RFH Girls Gymnastics Booster Executive Board, which has gained 501(c)3 status as a nonprofit organization. The organization plans on holding various fundraisers throughout the year, all proceeds from which will be used to minimize the cost of the program.

Team practices will be held at Barnstormers Gym in Rumson, with practice slots to be announced at a later date. Evaluations of the program’s inaugural roster of gymnasts will be held over the summer, with practices scheduled to begin in August and regular season competition to run from September through November.

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For more information please contact members of the RFH Girls Gymnastics Booster Executive Board: president Stacy Connone at sconnone@me.com; vice president Stacey Strandberg at staceystrandberg23@gmail.com; treasurer Richelle Frangione at frang2004@yahoo.com; and secretary Catherine Sullivan at catherinesullivan2002@yahoo.com.

This article was first published in the May 24-31, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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