By Katie Ritchie
If the members of the girls’ varsity gymnastics team had to describe themselves with one word, it would undoubtedly be “family.”
Aside from the fact that the team boasts two sets of biological sisters (juniors Christina and Sarah Pekar and sophomore Lauren Johnson and senior sister Lindsay), they also have five returning varsity members and two freshmen.
Because of their unique family dynamic, the team has been able to face the setbacks they’ve encountered this season with grace, as they are undefeated in the MSL East and are 5-2 in conference.
One of their setbacks was senior captain Katie Colmone’s back injury earlier in the season, which limited her to competing only on bars and beam, instead of her usual all-around category. Though she said she “[hasn’t] been competing to her fullest strength,” she took second place in the all-around event during the Knight’s Invite last Saturday, with a total score of 37.05 (9.65 on bars 9.55 on vault, 9.0 on floor and 8.85 on beam.) Overall the Knights took second place behind Schuamburg, with a score of 141.35.
As with other injuries this year, the team has been able to come together to make up for the loss of an event. “We’re a family,” Colmone said “If we don’t do so well in one event, we can really pick it up in the next event. So it doesn’t affect our whole meet by throwing off one event.”
Aside from a strong support system, the amount of returning varsity members coupled with the leadership of four year varsity member Colmone creates a level of experience for the entire team. “The success we’ve had this year is definitely off of experience and confidence in our gymnastics. We have some much we can improve on in practice, because no meet that we’ve had has been a perfect meet.”
Their formula in practice is to master their routines, making them clean and precise.
“We perfect what we have,” Colmone said. “We don’t all have the huge skills that some of the other teams have, but we do ours with grace and form. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Though they’ve had success so far, ranking 11th in the state and taking second and third place in each invite this year, Colmone has high hopes for the remaining few weeks of the season.
She hopes that, as a team, they are able to break the school record for the second time in a row, have a first or second place finish at conference, and qualify for state as a team . Though the girls’ team has never historically won conference because it includes No. 1 ranked powerhouse Fremd, “if they have an off night, and we have a really on night, we can win.”
Individually, Colmone hopes to end her 15 year run as a gymnast on “the highest note possible,” by breaking the school’s vault and bar record, a feat which she has been close to accomplishing many times.
The Knights will compete at the conference meet this Saturday, Jan. 23 at Schaumburg High School.