Emmy Bertucci

Junior all-arounder Emmy Bertucci and her Lyons Township High School girls gymnastics teammates continue riding the wave of momentum from last year’s great postseason.

“Motivation (is the key),” said Bertucci, who was named the Lions’ MVP. “I think if we all stay completely focused, we’re going to nail it this year and we’re going to make it to state as a team.”

The Lions understandably have high hopes with several returnees from last season’s team that earned the first sectional team berth since 2017 after a season-high 135.30 points at the LTHS Regional.

Bertucci, seniors Emily Tucker and Elle Rockrohr, and junior Dahlia Highland are returning individual sectional qualifiers.

Emily Tucker

The season begins with Hinsdale South’s Hornet Invitational Wednesday.

“We have a really solid team. They really want to go to state either individually or as a team or in the all-around,” LTHS coach Brittany Milovanovic said.

“They’ve actually all come back with their skills and new skills. It’s not like we’re starting from scratch, which is really nice. They all worked really hard in the offseason to keep up their skills so I think we’re going to start really strong.”

The Lions (134.075 points) were sixth at the Hinsdale South Sectional. Starting with the West Suburban Conference Silver Meet (134.15), the Lions’ highest three scores came in their final three meets. The Lions tied for third at the Silver Meet with Oak Park and River Forest and were fourth in the final overall standings.

As individual sectional qualifiers, Bertucci was 15th in all-around (34.10) and Tucker was 22nd (33.15). Bertucci was 13th on uneven parallel bars (8.725) and tied for 21st on balance beam (8.4). Tucker tied for 23rd on uneven bars (8.425) and Tucker and Rockrohr tied for 28th on floor (8.325), Rockrohr’s lone event at sectionals. Highland was 36th on beam (7.3) and also competed on vault and uneven bars.

Others back with varsity experience are seniors Calli Avants and Gabi Sanchez and junior Ava Hepokoski, who missed the latter half of last season with a torn ACL and meniscus in her left knee. Hepokoski will start this season only competing on uneven bars and beam.

Freshman Brynn Krantz is coming off qualifying for state in diving. Sophomore Carli Proctor, the Lions’ lone state qualifier on floor, did not return.

“Honestly, I think all of the hard work and dedication has helped us,” Tucker said.

Bertucci and Tucker also were individual sectional qualifiers on uneven bars in 2022. Also that postseason, Sanchez qualified for sectionals on vault and Avants competed on beam at regionals.

“I think we’re all really excited and all really ready to go out and make it to sectionals again as a team, make it to state,” Rockrohr said. “The energy from last year is really flowing in and getting us ready.”