The Oswego Co-Op Varsity Gymnastics team competed in the Upstate 8 Conference Meet on Monday, Feb. 3. The next Tuesday, the team traveled to Hinsdale Central to compete in Sectionals on Feb. 11. This season has been special for four seniors: Ellina Butolph, Cassidy Max, Kaitlyn Penzone, and Alex Salinas. Not only is this their last year competing in high-school, but it is their last opportunity to compete in the sport as a whole.
During regionals, the team made a valiant effort to score an IHSA Regional high 139.8 points. OHS placed significantly well on vault, bars, beam, and on the floor. For vault, junior Emily Sargeant placed fifth, freshman Kylie Phillip placed fourth, senior Ellina Butolph placed third, and freshman Olivia Valenti placed in second. On bars, Sargaent placed fourth, Valenti second, and Emily Thomas first.
“We just wanted to go out there and do our best and that’s exactly what the girls did,” Oswego Head Coach, Bailey DiGrazia said.
The next set of events were beam and floor. Butolph placed fifth, with Valenti placed fourth, and Sargeant placed third. Tying for a finish in first was sophomore Kelsie Freundt and Emily Thomas. Lastly, Sargeant placed fifth, and Freundt placed third on the floor.
Overall, Emily Sargeant placed second, and Olivia Valenti placed first. These hardworking Panther athletes represented the team well, scoring many points to contribute to a first-place finish.
DiGrazia, gladly reflected on the team’s performance.
“I knew that winning Regionals again was a goal we’ve had all season and it was definitely a possibility with the team we had,” DeGrazia said. “We just wanted to go out there and do our best and that’s exactly what the girls did. It felt so rewarding to end my career as head coach with a 3rd consecutive regionals win, especially after the girls just had a conference meet that Saturday.”
Then, Oswego performed well again at Sectionals, scoring a similar score of 139.8 points as a team. At Hinsdale Central, Emily Thomas placed second on beam, and Kelsie Freundt tied for fourth on floor.
“Sectionals is typically a more difficult meet for us with the built up pressure and the wear and tear on the girls bodies from the season,” DiGrazia explained.
The team looked forward to state all year, as it is the best stage to perform at.
“I just want the girls to soak it all in and perform their best. It’s an accomplishment in itself to make it to state and I just want them to enjoy it,” DiGrazia emphasized.
Thomas talked about what going to State meant to her.
“I’m nervous, but excited about this opportunity, and I want to just go out there and do my best,” Thomas stated.
Oswego competed on Feb. 21 and 22, sending Thomas and Freundt to Palatine High School to represent.