New Trier coach Jen Pistorious’ words were measured, but her smile told a different story on Tuesday night
Pistorius and the Trevians gymnasts felt if they could land second in the challenging Glenbrook South Sectional, then a state berth was likely, if not inevitable.
So when the refreshed scores confirmed New Trier’s runnerup finish, Pistorius and company quietly celebrated the moment.
“Oh my god we took second,” she said. “I’m so proud of them. Second. I’m so happy.”
Only eight spots are available in the IHSA girls gymnastics finals. Four of those spots go to sectional champions, and the rest go to the highest scores among non-champions — no matter the sectional.
As expected, state power Vernon Hills — a back-to-back state runnerup — claimed the top spot in the GBS Sectional with a 145.5 team score. New Trier recorded a 141.975 to finish second and just ahead of fellow state hopefuls Lake Zurich (141.45) and Lake Forest (141.425).
With three of the state’s four sectionals complete as of Wednesday, the Trevians hold the second-highest at-large score (Glenbrook North: 142.45). The final sectional is Thursday, Feb. 8, at Wheaton-Warrenville South. Three at-large teams would have to score at least 142 — an unlikely scenario — to keep the Trevians from state qualification.
New Trier is a recent regular at the state finals, competing in the event six times in nine seasons between 2012-2020. But the Trevians missed out on a state berth each of the last two seasons, as well as in 2021 when no state meet was held because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Trevians were led on Tuesday by junior Clara Crossgrove, who finished third in the all-around with a score of 36.5 and added a second-place bars routine (9.5) and fifth-place floor routine (9.05) — all three places good enough for individual qualification.
Junior Sammy Mills placed third on floor (9.1) and senior Annabel Sturgis (9.375) third on bars to each nab automatic individual qualifications — a first for each of the Trevians.
New Trier’s score of 141.975 was a full three-point improvement on the team’s regional performance. Pistorius said the sectional was a nice change of pace from recent history.
“I’m happy with that (score) at sectionals because our M.O. for the last few years is we have a great regional and then get to the sectional and everything falls apart. We make silly mistakes that wouldn’t normally happen,” she said. “Early this season, we talked to the girls saying we have to prepare for this. … And I am so proud of them. We did have some uncharacteristic things, but the work that we put in this week, we saw so much improvement and so much more confidence.”
At-large team and individual state qualifiers will be available on Thursday evening. The state championships will be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16-17, at Palatine High School.
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