Glenbrook North gets first state dive champion; New Trier swimmers take second

  • Matthew Yuan of Glenbrook North competes in the IHSA boys state diving finals Saturday at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont. Yuan, a sophomore at Glenbrook North, won the diving event with a 538.30 score.

      Matthew Yuan of Glenbrook North competes in the IHSA boys state diving finals Saturday at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont. Yuan, a sophomore at Glenbrook North, won the diving event with a 538.30 score. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Aiden Musick of New Trier competes in the 100 yard butterfly during the IHSA boys state swim finals Saturday. Musick won the 100-yard butterfly (47.75 seconds), placed third in the 200 freestyle, led off New Trier's third-place 200 free relay, and anchored the Trevians' second-place 400 free relay.

      Aiden Musick of New Trier competes in the 100 yard butterfly during the IHSA boys state swim finals Saturday. Musick won the 100-yard butterfly (47.75 seconds), placed third in the 200 freestyle, led off New Trier's third-place 200 free relay, and anchored the Trevians' second-place 400 free relay. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/1/2023 11:07 AM

Matthew Yuan and Noam Kulbak didn't simply win medals last weekend at the Illinois High School Association boys swimming and diving state finals.

They honored a family legacy.

 

Yuan, a sophomore at Glenbrook North, won the diving event with a 538.30 score at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont over Feb. 24-25.

Kulbak, a junior at Highland Park, took second at 527.75, a position surpassed at Highland Park only by 1959 state champion John Robbins.

According to IHSA records Yuan's championship finish was the first state diving title in Glenbrook North history, the first in Spartans diving coach Jess Roby's three-decade career after three runner-up finishes.

"Matthew broke the Robys' second-place curse," she said.

Two of those runner-up finishes came from her own son, Jonathan, whom she coached at Glenbrook North.

Kulbak's dive coach at Highland Park? Jonathan Roby.

"This is really special. And with Jon and his diver being there as well, it was a very special weekend for many reasons," said Jess Roby, a health and physical education teacher at Glenbrook North.

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Reasons such as thoughts of her late husband, Henry Roby. Himself a second-place finisher in 1972 with Proviso East, he died in 1994 when Jonathan was less than 3 years old.

"It was really important for me to pass on his dad's legacy to him, coaching-wise," Jess Roby said. "Henry himself was a great coach, a great diver, so it was important to me to pass on what he would have given to Jonathan."

It took a little bit. Jonathan Roby didn't start diving until he was a Glenbrook North freshman. With his mother out of the house teaching and coaching, once he started high school Jess gave him four options during the winter: diving, swimming, wrestling or basketball.

"The other three options weren't interesting for him," she said.

After finishing 11th as a sophomore, Jonathan finished second in 2009 and 2010.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We were trying hard to get that first place, it just wasn't in the cards for him. Now with his own divers he's tried to get to that first-place status as well. It was fun for the two of us on the deck vying for the same thing," Jess Roby said.

Kulbak, who helped the Giants to fourth place in team standings, won the Lake Forest sectional ahead of Yuan. In Westmont, though, Yuan rode consistency on the 1-meter platform to leads after Friday's preliminary and semifinal stages.

Then came the three dives in Saturday's final round. Yuan's first earned the lowest score of any of his 11 dives over two days.

He rallied. Yuan's final dive -- a forward 2 somersault in pike position -- earned his second-best point total of the competition and clinched the victory.

"It's probably his most consistent and one of his best dives, so he had to hit it," Jess Roby said. "And he did."

Would she again have been satisfied with second place, if Jonathan had the winner?

"That's a loaded question," she said. "Would I have been satisfied? No. Would I have been proud of my son and of Noam? Yes."

Jess thinks her husband would have, too.

"The sport of diving for Jonathan and myself is very special, because it sort of keeps his dad's memory alive. And Henry would have been very proud."

New Trier swimmers finish second

Hinsdale Central won the boys team championship by a wide margin with 253 points to New Trier's 134, but the Trevians' second-place finish added to the largest trophy case in IHSA swimming.

New Trier swimmers celebrate their runner-up finish in the IHSA Boys State Championships Saturday in Westmont. The Trevians earned their 53rd trophy with their 20th second-place finish in their 75th top-10 placement -- all best in state history.
New Trier swimmers celebrate their runner-up finish in the IHSA Boys State Championships Saturday in Westmont. The Trevians earned their 53rd trophy with their 20th second-place finish in their 75th top-10 placement -- all best in state history. - Sandy Bressner/sbressner@shawmedia.com

The Trevians earned their 53rd trophy with their 20th second-place finish in their 75th top-10 placement -- all best in state history.

Junior Aiden Musick won the 100-yard butterfly (47.75 seconds), placed third in the 200 freestyle, led off New Trier's third-place 200 free relay, and anchored the Trevians' second-place 400 free relay.

Aiden Musick, of New Trier competes in the Boys 100 Yard Butterfly during the IHSA Boys state swim finals Saturday February 25, 2023 in Westmont.
  Aiden Musick, of New Trier competes in the Boys 100 Yard Butterfly during the IHSA Boys state swim finals Saturday February 25, 2023 in Westmont. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

New Trier added first-team all-state nods by Charlie Bufton, fourth in the 200 individual medley, fifth-place diver Wyan Wellehan, and Max Lestina, sixth in the 50 freestyle.

The fastest flat-out sprinter in the 50 free was Highland Park senior Kevin Obochi (20.34).

Glenbrook South junior Henry Chen and Glenbrook North sophomore Evan Gitlevich earned top-12 finishes in the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, respectively. North's Jake Walker, Makoto Majoros Gabe Frank and Josh Hyun, finishing seventh, set a school record (1:25.01) in the 200 freestyle relay to help the Spartans place 12th as a team.

Ryan Eidelman of Glenbrook South competes in the 200 yard freestyle during the IHSA boys state swim finals Saturday. Eidelman won each of the four events held for athletes with disabilities.
  Ryan Eidelman of Glenbrook South competes in the 200 yard freestyle during the IHSA boys state swim finals Saturday. Eidelman won each of the four events held for athletes with disabilities. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Glenbrook South sophomore Ryan Eidelman won each of the four events held for athletes with disabilities. In 2022 Eidelman swam third in one event and finished second in three others.

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