Girls’ gymnastics focuses on present for strong outcome

 Balancing on the beam, freshman       Stella Khan executes a back walkover. South placed first in the Titan Quad with a score of        142.05.

Izzy Archer

Balancing on the beam, freshman Stella Khan executes a back walkover. South placed first in the Titan Quad with a score of 142.05.

Erin Sullivan, staff reporter

She straddles the beam and attempts to block out possible distraction in the room. Leaping, turning, flipping, and dismounting, senior co-captain Sarah Healy completes her routine, and achieves the score needed to beat her opponents at the Titan Quad.

Healy says that competing makes her both nervous and excited as she enters her third year on the varsity gymnastics team.

“I feel like I am in my own world,” Healy said. “I just have to trust that my body will do what it knows how to do.”

According to Head Coach Steve Gale, the first few weeks of the season were dedicated to perfecting skills for the season ahead. A few of the girls have also been training with their club gyms in the offseason to ensure they can give this season their all.

“Our girls that are most serious about gymnastics have been involved at the club level in the entire offseason, and they have prepared themselves,” Gale said. “In the first two weeks of the season, we’ve been doing routines and working on new skills and motivating the girls to give us the best they can in the gym.”

The team started off their season strong on Nov. 20. The team took first place at the Titan Quad against Vernon Hills, Evanston and Deerfield according to junior Jenna Hartley.

“We scored two points higher than we did at our first meet last year,” Hartley said. “This year we have more individualists than all-around [gymnasts] which is good because it gives us depth.”

Head Coach Steve Gale says that this team’s asset is its depth in talent. Gale hopes it will pull the team through the season and lead them to success in future meets.

“Much like last year, if one person is having an off night, we have the talent to fill that spot and to get the score,” Gale said. “We have the full potential to do just about whatever we want to do.”

This year’s team is  just as talented as last year’s team which placed third at State, Gale said. The team needs to get some meets under their belt, but their fate is in their own hands.

“I’m anxious to see how we progress as a team,” Gale said. “If we work hard and stay healthy, then we can be a threat at state.”

The gymnastics team has three new freshman this season, Stella Khan, Natalia Wojcik and Eleni Tryfonopoulos, who compete alongside the returning members. The girls look forward to reconnecting with teammates who they don’t get to compete with outside of the high school season, according to Hartley.

“I most look forward to getting to compete together as a team rather than at club where it is more individualistic,” Hartley said.

The team hopes to make it to state at the end of the season and place well, but that is not what they are focusing on, according to Healy. She is focused on the team’s development and relationship.

“If we think about the end [goal], we won’t be as focused in the present,” Healy said. “My own goal is to make it to state on floor. I am most excited to grow as a team and bond and push each other to the best team that we can become both in the gym and out of the gym.”

Hartley also wants to focus on the present and help her team out as much as possible this season.

“We’re trying not to look too far ahead and not the at the end goal,” Hartley said. “We set small goals to achieve. I just want to do what’s best for the team and perfecting my routine to get the best scores I can for my team.”

Early in the season, the Titans won their meet against Maine West with a score of 135.30, although they did not perform at their best, Healy said.

“It was not a very strong meet for us as a team. We had a lot of falls on beam, floor and vault,” Healy said. “We are setting personal goals for each event and are more focused during practice.”

The Titans go head-to-head on the floor with New Trier on Dec. 19 at home.