Girls gymnastics: Scouting the 2021-2022 season in Lake County

  • Carmel's Clare Keane performs on floor exercise at the 2020 state girls gymnastics meet at Palatine High School. Keane returns this season after being out last season following hip surgery.

    Carmel's Clare Keane performs on floor exercise at the 2020 state girls gymnastics meet at Palatine High School. Keane returns this season after being out last season following hip surgery. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Kayla Moses, second from left, is congratulated by teammates following her balance beam routine during a 2021 regional gymnastics meet.

    Lake Zurich's Kayla Moses, second from left, is congratulated by teammates following her balance beam routine during a 2021 regional gymnastics meet. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/1/2021 3:06 PM

North Suburban Conference

Lake Zurich Coach: Chelsie Grotelueschen (5th year)


Last season's record: (7-0, NSC champion).

Top returning gymnasts: Rayna Kaufman, Kayla Moses, AJ Burk, Emilly Hills, Michaella Gregoire.

Top new gymnasts: Gianna Mirabella So, Ella Babcock Fr, Mia McHugh Fr.

Worth noting: Lake Zurich reached a level by winning the North Suburban Conference and would like to stay there, but other teams in the conference are ready to challenge. Still, the Bears have a number of returning gymnasts that can still keep the bar at a high level. "We're looking to have another great and successful season with three seniors leading the team," Lake Zurich coach Chelsie Groteluechen said. "We have a lot of depth this year with our team on the varsity and on the junior varsity levels. We're hoping that the depth will allow us to rest girls when needed and maintain health throughout the season. The team is strong with their leadership skills this year and they have been having high expectations for one another in the gym and outside of the gym. We're beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to compete in a regular season and endure a postseason."

Libertyville Coach: Tiffany Owens (8th year)

Last season: (6th place in NSC)

Top returning gymnasts: Anna Becker Jr., Maya Roiland Jr, Sasha Chatamra So., Ella Sooley So.,

Top new gymnasts: Corinne Biederman So., Ally Humbert So.,

Worth noting: Taking the program to the next level, Libertyville has some young gymnasts that will help the team compete in the North Suburban Conference and have the ability of taking the next steps in the state series. "I expect the girls to have a strong showing in our conference," Libertyville coach Tiffany Owens said. "We've got a lot of young talent this season, which is exciting. Coming off of COVID everyone is excited for some normalcy this season. Fingers crossed all continues to go well and we have a complete season."

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MundeleinCoach: Bridget Erickson (2nd year)

Last season's record: 2-5

Top returning gymnasts: Tori Collins Sr, Jessica Lake Sr, Megan Oates So.

Top new gymnasts: Rylee Heidloff Jr, Elizabeth Strelecki Jr, Isla Rehm Fr.

Worth noting: Mundelein has its sights set on getting better and being at full strength for the long season. The Mustangs have a couple of seniors leading the way with Tori Collins and Jessica Lake along with sophomore Megan Oates. Some new gymnasts will also help out the team. "We want to improve upon our record from last year and keep our girls happy and healthy," Mundelein coach Bridget Erickson said. "We also hope to have our girls be successful in the postseason. We're just excited to have a full season this year. We have a lot of girls that are new to the sport and we look forward to building upon their skills through February."

StevensonCoach: Judy Harwood (31st year)

Last season's record: 3-2, second in NSC

Top returning gymnasts: Emma Fang, Maya Fergus, Ally Gitler, Lauren Jackson, Ashley Schabes.

Top new gymnasts: Samantha Matzek.

Worth noting: Stevenson returns all of its gymnasts from last season and should be one of the leaders in the North Suburban Conference. "This year there are some great teams in the NSC," Stevenson coach Judy Harwood said. "We hope to be very competitive if all goes well and everyone stays healthy. The girls are thrilled to be back competing a full schedule. They are working hard to make sure that they are ready for multiple competitions."


WarrenCoach: Mary Kovac (11th year)

Top new gymnasts: Emma Stermitz Sr, Amanda Hamann Jr. (transfer from Carmel), Mackenzie Liebau So, Hailey Kruger So, Evy Haggerty Fr, Emily Montes Fr.

Worth noting: Warren lost one of its top gymnasts in Olivia Kaether, who decided to switch to cheerleading this year. However, the Blue Devils have a junior transfer from Carmel in Amanda Hamann. "We're very excited to have her on our team not only as a gymnast but a team leader." Warren coach Mary Kovac said. "She's so motivating to all the other girls and her passion for the sport truly shows during all practices. We do have some talented girls on this year's team and I think consistency will be key to this season. This season is a marathon and not a sprint, so focusing on improvement from practice to practice and meet to meet will ensure the girls finish the season strong."


Vernon Hills Coach: Denise Caton (10th year)

Last season: unbeaten in CSL North.

Top returning gymnasts: Annika Chudy, Becca Tran, Shihori Takenaka, Jessica DeLorm.

Top new gymnasts: Livy Tran.

Worth noting: Vernon Hills had a successful season that was different from all others last season. The Cougars have a number of gymnasts that have experience returning. Add in a CSL North championship and this group could be one to watch if they stay healthy. "I expect this team to have another great year," Caton said. "Last year was very successful and our goal is to go up from there. We're very excited to have a safe and successful season. We're able to travel to other schools and are looking forward to a postseason of fabulous gymnasts."

District 117 (Antioch/Lakes)Coach: Christopher Patton (1st year)

Top returning gymnasts: Jenna Lamberty Sr, JJ Crum Jr, Josie Gates Jr.

Top new gymnasts: Julia Blasinki Fr.

Worth noting: Christopher Patton takes over for coach Angel Campese, who's out this year with the birth of twins. The team has been growing the last couple of years and getting better. "I think with our current varsity lineup we have the potential to make a big splash this year," Patton said. "We have a lot of potential that, once polished up a bit, can make some big moves and show everyone that we came to compete. The team has what it needs, we just need to stay healthy, committed and passionate. We will take a lot of teams by surprise this year."

Carmel CatholicCoach: Sarah Mikrut Doyle (21st year)

Last Season's record: 3-2

Top returning gymnasts: Clare Keane Sr, Nina Kropiwiec Sr, Lilly Bruschik Jr, Chloe Byrne Jr,

Julia Bukowski So.

Top new gymnasts: Sarah Arends So.

Worth noting: Carmel has Clare Keane back after she sat out last season following hip surgery. But the Corsairs have been a team that has been through adversity year after year. They have had many years of success at the state meet. "Unfortunately, we're juggling quite a few preexisting injuries coming into this season," said coach Sarah Mikrut Doyle. "While there has been a great deal of disappointment as realities have shifted for us, there is also a strong sense of pride in doing what we can to compete this season. We plan to build our team chemistry every day and work hard to return our amazing gymnasts to full strength. Last year was heartbreaking for our teams, so there is a renewed excitement for a normal gymnastics season. My girls look to heal their bodies while supporting each other to be their best."

Wauconda Coach: Elizabeth Prostka (3rd year)

Top returning gymnasts: Sarah Discher Sr, Morgan Jacobs Jr.

Top new gymnasts: Lorela Lowis Fr.

Worth noting: Wauconda has been going with individuals the last couple of seasons and trying to grow into a team. But the process still hasn't come together completely. The Bulldogs' gymnasts will compete in a regular season meet and then compete in the state series. "I fully believe we could grow," Wauconda coach Elizabeth Prostka said. "In addition to those three, there are at least five others walking around the high school now. I believe most of those kids would be more inclined to do gymnastics. We also know there are kids coming up."

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