LTHS gymnast Julia Cozzi

The Lyons Township High School girls gymnastics program’s resume speaks for itself. The Lions won state titles in 2013 and 2014, placed second in 2010, and have garnered other top 7 finishes over the last eight years.

Although the team lost several top scorers (notably Kelsy Kurfirst and Kelly Ryser) to graduation, sophomores Sarah Halm and Julia Cozzi return from last year’s squad which placed fifth in the state.

Halm notched second in the all-around with a score of 34.90 in a dual meet against Oak Park and River Forest last week. She also recorded team-highs in the vault (9.2), uneven bars (8.7) and floor (8.8) as the host Huskies defeated LTHS 135.05-132.30.

“It’s a lot different than last year,” Halm said. “I know it’s going to take a lot of work, but I really think we can get there.”

“I was nervous for this (OPRF) meet for sure, but I took those nerves and tried to make it good energy. Our energy was up as a team.”

Cozzi posted the Lions’ top score (8.55) on the balance beam. Her teammate, senior Michelle Flaws, finished right behind her in third place (8.40).

Freshman Olivia Kalata earned sixth in the all-around with a score 32.25, while junior Cara Rasmussen came in eighth in the all-around standings at 31.65.

“I was very pleased at the way they came out against Oak Park,” LTHS coach Kari Karubas said. “We’re finding our leaders and seeing what works and what doesn’t. We just have to make sure we stay healthy and keep progressing.”

OPRF junior Alyona Joschaniewicz won the all-around with a personal best 35.8 and finished first in the vault (9.25), uneven bars (8.9) and balance beam (9.25) as well. Junior Riley Patnode scored a team-high 8.55 on the floor for the Huskies, who are off to a 2-0 start in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division.

“(Lyons) has been going downstate forever so it was really good to see our girls come out the way they did against them,” coach Kris Wright said. “We really hit the routines today in each category. It’s early in the season, but we’re really putting everything together. We’re really excited about where this puts us in our conference now, which is right in the mix.”

Despite the conference loss to OPRF, Karubas has been pleased with the team’s attitude and work ethic. While competing for state titles has become the norm at LTHS, a slightly more patient approach this regular season could pay off once the state series roll around.

“We’re definitely improving,” she said. “We’re a very young team and have some things to still work on and put into place. The girls are hitting the gym every day and are ready to achieve.”