For Riverside-Brookfield High School senior girls gymnast Nora Ford, not having an IHSA state series last season has made her all the more determined.
“I know her goal is to make it to sectionals this year,” RBHS coach Karyn Domzalski said. “She’s really put all of her effort into gymnastics and acted as a team leader with a great work ethic.”
RBHS and Lyons Township High School are enthusiastic to begin complete seasons with the Hinsdale South Invitational on Nov. 24.
In their COVID-shortened season with seven meets, the Bulldogs scored as high as 128.55 points and finished third at the season-ending Upstate Eight Conference Meet (125.55).
LTHS ended with a 131.55 – a season high by more than six points in its five meets – in finishing fifth at the West Suburban Conference Silver Division Meet and fifth overall.
New LTHS head coach Brittany (Glowa) Milovanovic is a 2005 LTHS graduate who competed for the Lions as well as new junior varsity head and assistant coaches Maggie McCarter and Katie Gildea and returning varsity assistant Liz (Peters) Pawelko.
“All three of us are new to coaching [high school)], but we’ve all been through the program. And all three of us had different [LTHS] head coaches,” Milovanovic said.
“I love [returning]. It definitely brings back a lot of fond memories. I’m really hoping to strengthen the program as a whole and get the girls excited and bonding more after COVID.”
A fourth-year varsity gymnast, Ford qualified for the 2020 IHSA sectionals for RBHS in all-around. Ford and junior all-arounder Sarah Lindenberg were .125 points shy of advancing on floor exercise and vault, respectively.
At the UEC Meet in March, Ford was fifth on floor and 10th on vault. Ford and Lindenberg finished 7-8 in all-around.
Senior Leah Kowalski, juniors Claudia Grusecki and Quinn Kahle and sophomore Annabel Krueger also return. New hopefuls include freshmen Lia Christiansen, a Level 8 club all-arounder, Irma Bernal-Orihuela, Ana Burke and Reese Phelan.
“This year, we’re working with some of the old and some of the new on varsity,” Domzalski said. “It’ll be a unique year but I’m hoping one of our better years because we feel our level increases every year.”
LTHS junior Annmarie Holmes qualified for 2020 sectionals in all-around and floor. Senior Aniko Kittridge advanced on vault.
At the WSC Silver Meet in March, Holmes was ninth in all-around and tied for 10th on vault, and sophomore Emily Tucker was ninth on uneven parallel bars.
Other expected contributors include seniors Tiana Bojic and Elise O’Gorman, junior Natalie Aubert, sophomores Calli Avants, Leyla Ochoa and Gabi Sanchez and freshman Emmy Bertucci.
“I would love to see us go to sectionals as a team,” Milovanovic said. “We really want to strive for that improvement throughout the program.”