There were no bleachers or celebratory hugs. There wasn’t even an on-site opponent.
But it was all much ado about nothing, because sports were back Wednesday, Feb. 3, at New Trier High School. And what better way to get things started than with an evening of flips, kicks, leaps and bounds.
“We’re so happy to have the opportunity to have a season and be able to compete,” New Trier gymnastics coach Jen Pistorius said after the meet. “This is such a wonderful group of girls. I’m so happy for the seniors who get to have something this year.”
Trevians gymnasts — as well as New Trier bowlers, competing simultaneously off-site — participated in the first local sports competition in about three months, ever since the state of Illinois put a halt to high school athletics amid a COVID-19 surge in November 2020.
The virus’s 2021 regression has opened up opportunities for all remaining high school sports to play in 2021, starting with winter sports: basketball, boys swimming and diving, bowling, badminton, dance, cheerleading and gymnastics.
New Trier opened its six-week slate with a virtual meet against Evanston, which performed in its own gym. The team’s then shared scores to determine a winner, with New Trier coming out ahead 136.7-128.2.
Trevians took the top three spots on vault — junior Maria Morabioto (9.05), junior Sydney Holder (8.95) and sophomore Rebecca Herbst (8.65) — en route to an event-high 34.65 points.
Holder also won the uneven bars with a 9.05 and the floor exercise with a 9.35, just a tick ahead of teammate Morabito (9.30).
Morabito (34.15) tied for first in the all-around ahead of Herbst.
Seniors Amelia Montgomery, who had the Trevs’ top beam score (8.75), and Erin Gorney — who scored for the Trevs in the floor, beam and vault — had their doubts a season would happen this school year.
And while this campaign, with limited fans and team huddles, will not be perfect, it is a season nonetheless.
“I feel like IHSA and New Trier did a good job putting this together,” Gorney said. “A couple months ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d even be in a gym. I feel like this is better than nothing.”
It is strange, Montgomery said, not being able to watch your opponent compete and know how they are scoring.
But it won’t be an every-time format, Pistorius said, explaining that the Central Suburban League has ordered virtual meets. So when New Trier plays out-of-conference foes, such as Carmel next week, the teams may square off in-person.
The 2021 gymnastics season will also not end in a state series — same goes for all winter and fall-deferred sports (football, boys soccer, girls gymnastics and field hockey).
The uniqueness of the campaign complicates it, but for Pistorius, there are still achievements to be had.
“We’re competing against ourselves,” she said. “We want to get better and are getting better every practice. We want to have a good time, maybe get a little better, have some fun and have a great finish for the seniors.”