Trevian Gymnasts earn top prize at GBN


New Trier gymnastics took first place at the Glenbrook North invite on Dec. 7, building off of a string of impressive performances for the team.

Led by a trio of all-arounders (gymnasts who competed in all four events) – senior Darcy Barkal, junior Maeve Murdock, and junior Rachel Zun – the Trevians won the competition at GBN for the first time ever.

Barkal in particular accomplished something special: she set a school record in the vault event with a score of 9.77.

“This is not something I thought would ever happen,” said Barkal, thrilled to receive an exemplary total.

Barkal was featured in the NT News’s “Three Stars of the Week” last week for her accomplishment.

“We have a record board in our gym and I’ve tied with people for a few records, which is a huge honor, but I never thought I could get the highest score. This year, though, I did make a goal for myself to get higher than a 9.6 on vault, so I’m happy I beat my goal and I want to continue making more goals for myself,” she said.

Gymnastics consists of four events: balance beam, vault, uneven bars, and the floor. Each participating gymnast performs a routine on anywhere from one to all four of the events, showcasing their skills in strength and gracefulness. Each routine is scored on a scale of 1-10, and the highest total team score wins the meet.

Each meet also has an individual champion, and for the GBN invite, that was NT’s Rachel Zun.

“I have never won the all-around at an invite, so being able to do that at the GBN invite was really awesome,” she said.

The GBN invitational has a slightly different scoring system than most other gymnastics competitions, because every score counts, as opposed to each team keeping their best performance on each event. This means that everyone on the team has to receive a respectable score in order to keep up with their opponents, as Zun explained.

“We have been practicing every day after school since the season started to get our routines to where they are now,” she said, proud of her teammates.
Zun finished in first place individually in all-around scoring at New Trier’s most recent meet on Dec. 15, a “quad” (where four teams, including NT, compete).

One of the other teams at the quad, Carmel Catholic, is one of the Trevians’ “biggest competitors,” so winning that meant a little something extra to them.

“We had to score an average of a 9 to win,” said senior Zoey Spangler, who did well on the balance beam at the GBN invite. “So there was some pressure to hit all of our routines.”

New Trier’s team score was the highest it’s been all season on Saturday, at 147.25. They finished just ahead of Carmel, who placed second with 146.05 points in a tight battle for the top spot.

Barkal won both the vault and the floor routine at scores of 9.45 and 9.55, respectively. Zun tied for first in the balance beam and, of course, won the all-around first place medal with 37.55 points. Murdock, the third all-arounder, finished third in total points with 36.8.

The Trevians say that their biggest area, for improvement are in consistency and confidence.

“We’re all great gymnasts and we can do amazing things, but we do have nerves sometimes. Our main goal is to just get everyone to a point of being super comfortable competing and just having a lot of positive energy,” said Murdock.

“We had been doing a lot of reps in practice to get everyone’s confidence up,” she added, confident in her team’s ability to continue their superb stretch.

“We haven’t hit 16/16 routines yet, so that is a big goal of ours for the next couple weeks,” said Zun. “There are also some injuries and illnesses going around the team, so we are looking forward to seeing what we can do with our full lineup.”