Prior to high school, junior Sammy Mills hadn’t competed on a gymnastics mat in years.
She grew up with the sport, but backed off of it for a while in her early teens. Since picking the sport back up, Mills told The Record she has also picked up new skills, new friends and another thing: “new confidence” interjected Trevians coach Jen Pistorius.
That improved confidence was on display Thursday, Jan. 18, when Mills won the floor exercise (9.45) and gave credit to a new tumbling pass she boldly inserted prior to the meet.
“My last tumbling pass was new. It was my first time competing it today,” she said of her floor routine. “I think that’s what gave it the extra boost in the score. … I took out a different pass that just wasn’t working and I needed more difficulty so I added (the new) one instead.”
Mills floor score padded her all-around total (36.15), which was good enough for third, and the Trevians team score (142.2), which eclipsed host Glenbrook South’s (136.8) in the Central Suburban League South dual meet.
Clara Crossgrove, also a junior, led the Trevians with an all-around score of 36.65, claiming second behind the Titans Allie Mietus (37.2). Crossgrove won the uneven bars title with a 9.55 and placed second in the vault (9.1), tied with teammate Taylor Kim.
Mills and Kim tied for second on beam, each scoring a 9.0, while senior Anabel Sturgis claimed third on bars (9.25) and Kim third in the all-around (34.95).
New Trier’s total of 142.2 was one of its top scores of the season and the Trevians have their sights set on a return to the state finals for the first time in four years (no state meet in 2021).
Prior to 2012, the Trevians had not advanced to the state finals since 1995 — a span of 18 seasons; however, from 2012-2020, they qualified for the state championships seven times under Pistorius.
The Trevians have thrived this season with an experienced and deep group, led by Crossgrove, Mills and Kim. But none of them, including Sturgis, who leads a senior class that competed in the COVID-shortened season of 2020-’21, has competed with their team in a state championship meet.
“If we keep doing what we’re doing, and we have the potential to, we should be there,” Pistorius said of state. ” … I know they want to get there. It will be there for us.”
Pistorius praised the improvement of her gymnasts, like Mills, who have fearlessly added difficult tricks to their routines this season. Crossgrove is the Trevs’ only state returner after qualifying on bars last season, and Pistiorius said she has cleaned up her routines. Senior Angie Hersam has taken major strides on floor and Anna Virgili on vault and bars. Senior Morgan Deger gives the team a boost on floor and beam.
“I think everybody has gotten something this year, whether that’s tricks, confidence or consistency,” Pistorius said.
New Trier is in control of the CSL South standings and can earn the outright league crown when it hosts the conference meet on Friday-Saturday, Jan. 26-27, in Northfield.
New Trier also hosts the regional meet the following week on Feb. 1.
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