Kits take seventh in first annual Chester Jones invite


Although the girls gymnastics team finished seventh out of eight teams at the first annual Chester Jones Invitational, the team was successful considering the inexperience and injuries that have plagued this year’s campaign.

In the individual events, no Evanston girls got a medal for placing in the top 10, but Hilary Vickman, junior, tied for fifteenth in the in all around competition with a score of 30.2. Vickman hit everything on her floor routine perfectly, an event she couldn’t even compete in last year. And although she didn’t execute it flawlessly, she tried her most difficult move of the season on the vault.

First year coach Meghan Koons was proud of the performance, but noted that Vickman–and the kits as a whole–need to improve on the balance beam. Vickman agrees with coach Koons; she hopes falling less on the beam will help her secure a sectional birth this year.

ETHS has battled injuries and inexperience the entire year. Maddie Lee, Junior, couldn’t compete due to illness today. Captains Liora London and Lauren Galan, both seniors, are injured: London broke her ankle and sprained her elbow and Galan has two stress fractures in her leg. London bluntly described being injured: “It sucks.” As a result of these injuries, the Kits five competitors were young: three juniors, a sophomore, and a freshman.

While captains London and Galan have been unable to participate due to injury, coach Koons says, “they have been excellent role models,” making the most of their absence by mentoring underclassmen in a role similar to that of an assistant coach. Both hope to be back for senior night against New Trier on Jan. 27.

The event was the first annual Chester Jones Invitational, but this was the second time former coach Jones has made it out to support the young Kits squad. The entire team wore flannels to honor former coach Jones, and gave him a salute when he walked in. He is excited to watch the inexperienced team mature.

While Jones doesn’t miss the 59 mile trip from his house in St. Charles to ETHS, he does miss everything else about ETHS–from his Adventure Education classes to coaching the gymnastics squad. In his retirement he is flipping houses, as he describes himself as someone who is not a coach potato. He would like to move to a warmer climate–perhaps to New Mexico–but was confident he’d make it to the invite that bears his name each and every year.

In the end, Maine South won the meet with a team score of 140.4, with New Trier right behind them with a team score of 137.175, and Glenbrook North rounding out the top three with a team score of 131.375.