Leah Keys Takes Potential to MHM Gymnastics

Christopher Tremblay
Freshman Leah Keys has returned to gymnastics on the Medway-Holliston-Millis Co-op Team after a two-year hiatus. She will be a key player next year, when a number of seniors graduate.
Issue Date: 
March, 2018
Article Body: 

At the mere age of five, Holliston’s Leah Keys was looking for something to occupy her time – enter gymnastics. Keys joined the competition team at Shen’s Gymnastic Academy in Holliston.
“There was no real reason why I choose gymnastics,” Keys said. “I was just looking to do something, and gymnastics seemed to be fun and Shen’s was close by.”
Although the sport had originally given the Holliston athlete fun and enjoyment, midway through the seventh grade, she found that she was spending too much time at the academy and it wasn’t enjoyable anymore.
Upon leaving the gymnastic team, Keys wanted to branch out and try something new - she was up for anything and everything. During her time, away she participated in diving, dance and ju-jitsu.
“I found that I was not into diving and dance, but I found ju-jitsu interesting,” she said. “I was still taking part in it when I entered high school in the fall. I had to drop it when it started to conflict with high school gymnastics; I’ll go back to it once the season is over.”
When Holliston went back to school some five months ago, Keys soon found out that she was bored and had too much time on her hands and was looking to get back involved with gymnastics. Although she was willing to get back into the sport, she was not interested in the Junior Olympic competition, like she had when she was at Shens.
Having no team on the high school premises, Keys joined the co-op team, which consisted of Medway, Holliston and Millis (MHM) athletes. MHM practices at Elite in Ashland where the Holliston freshman takes part in all four events, but come competitions, she participates in just three events (bars, beam and floor).
“Leah is pretty even in all three of her events, and gives it her best each time she is out there,” MHM Coach Breanna Vacca said. “I have seen potential in her [performances, and with gymnastics generally not being a very long season, only 3 months, she has made improvements.”
Of the three events, the floor exercise is not only Keys’ favorite event, but it is also her best, where she scores an average of 8.6. While she loves the floor, she is not all that thrilled with the beam. According to the freshman, she has never gotten hurt on the beam, but she knows she needs to practice the event.
“I really need to get more comfortable with the event,” Keys said. “The beam requires a lot of mental preparation, which I don’t have. I need to continue to practice the event and master those skills.”
Having left club gymnastics a few years ago, Vacca noticed that the Holliston freshman took a while to get back into the groove once the season got under way.
“Leah had been away from the sport, and it took her some time to get back what she lost over the last two years,” the Coach said. “She has plenty of potential, and if she takes it upon herself to work on those things during the off-season, she will improve.”
When she came out for the team, Keys had no real goals set for herself, she just wanted to get back what she had lost.
“I was just hoping that I could get acclimated to the sport again, while getting into a rhythm,” she said. “During the upcoming off-season, I want to go back to Shens to improve for next season. I want to improve upon the skills that I am currently struggling with.”
As she looks to keep improving her scores in all three events this year, the freshman is also hoping to be able to step up and help the team out even more next season when MHM says goodbye to some key seniors.