Lowell gymnastics discontinued after 40 years of competition

The gymnastics beam were cut in half to fit into the moving truck. Photo by Tobi Kawanami

Lowell’s gymnastics team has been discontinued this season after 40 years.

Last season’s coach left the team and won’t be replaced, according to athletic director Robert Ray.

On Jan. 13, the school district collected the beams, mats, vault runway and bars from the gym because the PE department needed more space, according to principal Andrew Ishibashi. With the equipment gone, the gymnastic team will not be able to make a return, he said.


The gymnastics team is upset at the cancellation.

Seniors Kana Suzuki and Raina Serrano have been competing at the varsity level with the team since their freshman year. “I was counting on my last year to compete and I was looking forward to it and inviting people,” Serrano said. “Now we don’t have that chance.”

Movers threw mats from the gym. GIF by Tobi Kawanami

The team received an email from previous coach Lesley de Dios on Oct. 12 saying that she was stepping down from her position. They were surprised because de Dios had been coaching for 9 years prior to her announcement.

Ishibashi and Ray were unable to find a qualified replacement, according to Ishibashi.

Ray decided to host the gymnastics team info meeting earlier than usual, on Nov. 4, to see if there would be enough people interested in gymnastics to continue looking for a coach, according to Serrano. Approximately 20–30 new people showed up, which was more than the previous years’ average of 10–15 people.

“I was counting on my last year to compete and I was looking forward to it and inviting people. Now we don’t have that chance.”


During the info meeting, Ray asked the team to find another coach by Dec. 1 in order for the program to continue, according to Suzuki and Serrano.

After the announcement, the team looked for a potential coach and thought they found one, but no hiring was done by the deadline. “We were so close to finding the coach and that the next season or the year after that, we could get someone to coach but now our equipment is gone so I guess not,” Suzuki said.

Movers placed mats from the gym into the truck. GIF by Tobi Kawanami

They’re sad for the underclassmen on the team and potential members. “There are a lot of freshmen and sophomores who just started gym and even if it didn’t happen this season, we hoped there was a chance next season,” Suzuki said.

For Serrano and many others, gymnastics was the only thing that attracted her to attend Lowell. “Honestly, the only way you can get through Lowell is if you find somewhere you fit in, and for a lot of people, it was gymnastics,” Serrano said. I didn’t really want to come to Lowell, but I knew a couple of people in the gymnastics team and they convinced me that I should come.”

This is the truck with all the equipment. Photo by Tobi Kawanami

The gymnastics team had been competing and placing since the 1970’s.

Despite the gymnastics team’s history spanning over 40 years, it was relatively unknown compared to the other sports at Lowell.

Lowell gymnastics didn’t compete with teams from SFUSD in recent years since Lowell was the last remaining high school in the district with a gymnastics team. Since the early ’90s they competed mainly in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League. Suzuki said being on the gymnastics team was definitely something to be proud of. “Every time we go to the meet, we get to represent San Francisco,” she said.