Oyen's performance sparks Buffalo Grove to victory

By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/18/2022 10:07 PM

Buffalo Grove senior Leah Oyen led the way for the Bison Tuesday night in a girls gymnastics triangular at Elk Grove.

Oyen won the all-around with a score of 34.65, and paced her team to a victory over Fremd and the host Grenadiers.


BG put up a mark of 131.55 to win, and when all was said and done and with the Mid-Suburban League conference meet coming up Saturday, a couple of the local 12th-graders had a chance to reflect on their stellar careers.

It happened to be Senior Night in the Elk Grove gym, and Grens senior Makayla Eugene said that the four years she's been in the program have gone by way too fast.

"I was very excited for tonight," said Eugene, "and I can't believe we're approaching the end of the season already. My final season is about to be over."

Eugene, who is undecided as to which college she will attend in the fall but knows she'll be studying biology and premed, can still remember joining the team as a freshman.

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"It was pretty scary," she said, "but I've basically been in gymnastics my whole life so I was actually excited to be meeting my new teammates and making new friends.

"My freshman year was a great team and a great start, and now this year I've changed my mindset a little, to end my career the way I've wanted it to end."

Grens coach Abi Diaz said that it was a big night for himself and his team.

"This is an awesome experience," said Diaz. "This is the group of girls I started coaching as freshmen, and being Senior Night, there are so many emotions. It's a great group of girls and it's nice to see them performing well tonight and hitting their routines."

Junior Sarah Labonar of Fremd was victorious on the balance beam (8.35) with sophomore teammate Claire Lantman second, while Vikings sophomore Julia White (8.90) took the uneven parallel bars.


BG's Oyen finished first on the floor routine with a 9.25 and won the vault at 9.20, and placed second in the parallel bars as well.

"I think on the whole we did a pretty good job tonight," said Oyen. "We're having a lot of fun as we come close to the end of the season. I definitely was being more careful tonight not to get hurt with a big week (including conference) coming up."

Oyen is another senior who said the approaching end of the campaign is a little bittersweet.

"It's kind of sad," said Oyen, who added that the floor exercise is her favorite event.

"When I think back, I'd have to say that my sophomore season is (my best memory) of the past four years. That was a really good year for me, and after that, unfortunately I always had back issues to deal with. What I'm really going to miss about all this is the team spirit, and how it feels to compete, and how everyone is always there for each other."

Anna Lang of BG was second in the all-around, with Ella Gray of Fremd third.

Vikings coach Kacey Kronforst, who said that sophomore Olivia D'Angelo "stood out" for her team Tuesday, added that her squad "did all right, except for a couple of silly mistakes."

"With conference coming up," said Kronforst, "I'm glad we got those out of our system."

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