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New talent leads girls gymnastics to a strong start

Senior+Emily+Kelleher+balances+strength+and+focus+in+anticipation+for+the+Trevians.
Senior Emily Kelleher balances strength and focus in anticipation for the Trevians.

Senior Emily Kelleher balances strength and focus in anticipation for the Trevians.

Senior Emily Kelleher balances strength and focus in anticipation for the Trevians.

Joey Eovaldi, Sports Editor

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133.

Girls Gymnastics strives to put up the highest point total in school history as they head into tomorrow’s meet at New Trier.

“Once we really start to hit out routines on the varsity level, I believe that we are going to level out somewhere around the 130-135 range,” coach Meghan Koons said.

The girls hope to ride a hot start into the New Trier Invite on Saturday, Dec. 17., and give the Trevians a run for their money.

“We’ve all been working really hard since the end of last year, and we’ve all gotten better,” junior Caroline Christensen said. “If we stay relaxed and have fun while we compete, we know we can do well.”

The team didn’t do to well last year in the bigger meets. They know that they have something special this year, so they will definitely try to stay relaxed during competitions.

With more girls this year, Koons hopes to develop not only strong gymnasts, but strong leaders too.

“This year’s turnout was bigger and way more diverse,” senior captain Emily Kelleher said. “Our team is much more inclusive and all around, with good gymnasts in every grade, and elite freshmen coming in.”

Jamie Otwell is one of those elite freshmen, and she’s expected to step into a huge role this year, despite her inexperience in high school. Otwell is a level eight gymnast, the highest level on the team.

“There are 10 levels in gymnastics, and level 10 is the highest you can go. Olympic gymnasts are at level 10, so levels seven and up are pretty good,” Christensen said.

Christensen, along with Kelleher, senior Ella Roberts and freshman Abra Levin are level seven gymnasts, not far behind Otwell.

Joining Otwell as not only a freshman, but a top performer and leader is Levin. These two gymnasts have shown that they can help in the gym by scoring key points, but also in the locker room by acting as young and mature leaders towards a talented squad.

“Our team has gotten a lot better in terms of confidence, and Jamie and Abra have been a huge help to the captains so far,” Kelleher said. “Confidence is going to be really important this year if we want to reach our team goal of 133 points.”

Roberts and senior Hillary Vickman are both high competitors and captains to look out for. Their experience and leadership join Kelleher’s as they all hope to teach the newer gymnasts anything and everything that they can, and help the team rally together and reach Sectionals.

The Kits showed their talent, confidence, and even flashes of promising skill early this year, as they have performed really well to start off the season. In their first meet against Maine East, they hit 125, their highest team point total in three years. Evanston won by an astonishing 17.5 points, and the final score was 125.40-107.05 in a great start to the season.

“We are hoping to make it into sectionals as a team this season,” Koons said. “On an individual basis, we are hoping to send a few girls to state.”

Girls gymnastics is breaking all kinds of barriers down early this season, and if they can keep the work and leadership, they up they might find themselves in the Sectionals meet this year, or maybe even State.

Follow their results on the ETHS Athletics website at: http://il.8to18.com/evanston/schedule/gymnastics/g/v/2016-2017

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