Gymnastics head to sectionals on Wednesday

Chris Werner, Sports Editor

In Frank Erwin’s four years as Evanston’s head gymnastics coach, only Jesse Bernstien in 2017, has gotten past the IHSA sectional round as an at-large qualifier. But freshman sensation Aryeh Lesch, specializing in the floor exercise, could move that number to two this year.

Lesch, who also placed third at the CSL conference meet for ETHS’ diving team, had a season-best score of 8.8 on the floor exercise at the Kits’ first home meet against Niles West and Glenbrook South.

The freshman knows that he has to  perform a tough routine for a chance to qualify for the State meet in May at Hoffman Estates High School.

“I know that my routine has a starting value that’s good enough to get me to State,” Lesch said. “If I can execute it as well as I can in practice and in my best meets, I have a really good shot of making it through.”

Lesch is one of 14 freshmen on the varsity team this year, making up two thirds of the roster.

Although the Kits haven’t found much success on the scoreboard this season, picking up their first win at Maine East on April 10 by a score of 119 to 113, Erwin has seen noticeable signs of improvement for the years to come during this season, especially from the underclassmen.

“They’ve improved tremendously,” Erwin said. “Their maturity has increased. Even though they’re underclassmen, you wouldn’t know it in the gym.”

Erwin believes that the sectional round Wednesday at Hersey High School is a great place for the young team to not only compete but see where they could be in the future.

“It’s a learning experience because it will primarily be upperclassmen from the other schools competing,” Erwin said. “One or two of the teams at our sectional will be top seeds, so we will see that quality of competition. I really hope they will see at this meet what it takes to qualify for state and  take a mental note. I think most of them have a chance of doing it in the future.”