Photo Provided by @NobGymnastics
SEASON ENDER: Senior Remy Kirk will miss the rest of Noblesville's gymnastics season due to a torn ACL. The Millers have had several key pieces go down early in the season.
Photo Provided by @NobGymnastics SEASON ENDER: Senior Remy Kirk will miss the rest of Noblesville's gymnastics season due to a torn ACL. The Millers have had several key pieces go down early in the season.
The Noblesville gymnastics team is off to a 5-2 start — but adversity has already reared its ugly head.

In the season opener, a tri-meet against Roncalli and Scecina Memorial Jan. 11, the Millers lost two gymnasts.

Senior Zoe Hartman was the first to go down — injuring her ankle during the second event. A couple minutes later, senior Remy Kirk was lost for the year with a torn ACL.

“We’re kind of a little family, so when one person feels pain … we kind of all feel it,” said Noblesville head coach Jody Ramey. “Gymnastics is 80 percent mental, in my opinion, and that can easily trickle through a team. The nervousness and the fear you feel right before you’re getting ready to compete and you had a teammate just go down — that’s tough.”

Hartman, whose teammates voted as one of two team captains, said she hyperextended her knee while performing a front tuck during her floor routine. She didn’t feel the pain right away — she finished the event — but Hartman could tell something wasn't right as she walked off the mat.

Her teammate didn't make it that far. During the same event, Kirk attempted to execute a tumbling pass — a move that includes a backflip with a 360-degree twist. When she landed, though, her body kept turning but her leg stayed stationary. Then she heard a pop. Kirk screamed as she collapsed to the floor and cradled her knee with both hands.

“It was one of the worst pains I’ve ever felt,” Kirk said. “I kind of knew … I just knew I was done. I was really sad, because it’s my senior year and I really wanted to compete.”

The loss of two seniors, and two gymnasts of an 11-member squad, has changed the strategy for Noblesville this season — but it hasn’t completely tempered Ramey’s expectations for a team she feels had the potential to set school records.

“Remy was a big blow for us — she’s a very talented senior — the expectations of what she would be able to produce takes our team to kind of a different level,” Ramey said. “The good news is that we do have a big team — the average sized team for gymnastics is usually around six to eight gymnasts …The girls are very good about knowing that when something like this happens, they need to be ready to jump right in.”

The school’s record for total score in a competition 106, Ramey said, and the coach thinks it’s obtainable. The Millers scored a 97 at their first meet — a mark they didn’t hit last year until sectionals — and Kirk’s score wasn’t factored in because of her injury.

Still, the loss of the team’s most skilled gymnast stings. Ramey described Kirk’s prowess by explaining the 10 different levels in club gymnastics. “Level 10 is basically an Olympic-type level,” she said. “Remy was a Level 8 gymnast … Certainly, it was devastating.”

Kirk never got the opportunity to show her coach and teammates what she could have brought to the Millers. She transferred to Noblesville this year after her family moved to Indiana from California. She was so excited about the opportunity to compete for Noblesville that she called her coach over the summer to see what she could do to prepare for the season, Ramey said.

Kirk continued to show her commitment during off-season workouts. She only missed one optional conditioning practice — and that was due to illness. “She was the only one that was here every single practice,” Ramey said. “She is very determined. She’s dedicated — very dedicated.”

Even though her high school career is over, Kirk remains an important cog to what the Millers hope to accomplish. Now that she isn’t focusing on her routine, she said, she’s taken some of the younger gymnasts under her wing. “I’ve tried to help some of the girls out with their skills,” she said. “I just want to be a positive influence on everyone.”

The early-season injuries have opened the door for several gymnasts who weren’t expecting to see varsity action this season. Ramey pointed to sophomores Ella Deno, who is battling an injured finger, and Racheal Glasener as the two girls who've had to step up the most.

“I only competed three times last year so just getting the experience is what I’m focused on,” Glasener said. “(Remy’s) injury scared me, but … she’s always positive. She just brings good vibes to the whole team.”

Hartman has also taken it upon herself to help the Millers however she can. Since she could still walk on her injured ankle, she returned to practice and attempted the same tuck. This time, she felt the pain immediately. “I thought it was my Achilles at first,” she said. “I went to the doctor and he said I have an inflamed tendon and a sprained ankle. If the swelling doesn’t go down, I’ll need to get an MRI.”

Hartman’s concern, she said, is that she tore something. If her worst fear is true, she’d require surgery and would also miss the rest of the season. “Feb. 19 is Senior Night,” she said. “And I know I probably won’t be able to compete — but I really want to.”

While her Senior Night is in in doubt, this Saturday’s invitational is certainly out of the question. Sophomore Grace Kwiatkowski could miss this weekend’s meet, too. She’s scheduled for an MRI on her back some time during the week.

Ramey, though, won’t let that stop her team from getting her remaining healthy troops ready for competition.

“We have a lot of talent on this team — it’s probably more talent than we’ve had the past few years,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that we had those losses right from the get-go, but it’s done. There’s not anything I can do to change what happened, so from this point we look forward to all the other girls that can compete. We still have a great team.”