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New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Team effort propels NT gymnastics to success at state

Coach Jenn Pistorius and gymnasts Clara Crossgrove and Anna Virgili reflect on their remarkable season
Courtesy of Jenn Pistorius
Senior Angie Hersam performs a back handspring on balance beam

After not qualifying for state as a team since 2020, the New Trier High School gymnastics team had a goal going into this season: to finally make the trip to Paletine and clinch part of the title. The Trevians did just that on Feb. 17 when they placed seventh as a team. Of the five girls who competed in the four total events—vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise—there were many individual gymnasts who qualified in their events. 

Head coach Jenn Pistorius is no stranger to the energy and excitement of state meets and Trevian victory, having coached the team for 34 years. Part of what made going to state so exciting was seeing her athletes excel just as she had when she competed at state in high school.

This year, I also felt more like a leader and tried hard to set a good example for the lower classmen.

— Clara Crossgrove

“My junior year…we didn’t make it as a team, but three of us qualified as individuals.  My senior year, I competed as an individual for my high school and qualified as well,” Pistorius said. “I have taken many teams and dozens of girls as individuals to state, so I was able to share those experiences with the girls.” 

In addition to its dedication to break the state drought, the gymnastics team worked to lift each other up and maintain team spirit throughout the entire season.

“The day of state was so exciting,” Pistorius said. “The girls decorated the bus, wore feather boas and sunglasses, had a speaker with music for the bus ride and took pictures. They were taking in all of the excitement.” 

Though this team was one of the smallest the program has had in numbers, its talent was overwhelming. 

“We won Conference on the Varsity and JV levels this year, Regionals and took second at Sectionals,” Pistorius said. When the team placed second, “we had to wait until the final day of that week to see if our team score would qualify.  It was so exciting to realize that the team and some individuals qualified.” 

Sophomore Anna Virgili believes that, though it is impressive for individual gymnasts to qualify for state, it is even more impressive that the Trevians qualified as a team.

“We were so proud of everyone, and it was amazing knowing our work paid off,” Virgili said.

Despite the nervousness felt before every meet, the team was always there to lift each other up.

“If anyone sticks their landing or routine, they get to wear a crown until someone else sticks their routine. It makes you feel so special and supported by the whole team,” Virgili said. “We all practice together, wear the same leotard, and compete together, so everyone builds strong relationships.” 

After working hard to overcome struggles from last season, junior Clara Crossgrove placed third for her bar routine.

“This year, I definitely felt like I knew what to expect going into the season and definitely felt more confident because that was one of my biggest problems last year,” Crossgrove said. “This year, I also felt more like a leader and tried hard to set a good example for the lower classmen.”

After completing one of the best bar routines of all season at Sectionals, Crossgrove knew she would find success at State.

“State was so much fun but really stressful. I didn’t do as well as I hoped on beam, but floor and vault went well, and my bars was one of the best I’ve done all season and placed third. I’m an ‘all arounder,’ so I compete in all four events,” Crossgrove said.

The strong traditions within the program already have Crossgrove looking forward to her final season with the Trevians.

“I’m really looking forward to senior night next year because it is such a special meet for the seniors, and I’m so excited to experience that next year. The juniors give speeches, and the seniors get to wear special leotards that have been passed down generations,” Crossgrove said.

The team’s success will not be forgotten as the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are already back in the gym with their clubs practicing and getting stronger for next season. 

“[Overall, state] was a fantastic experience and the juniors, sophomores and freshmen really took it all in and are excited to be back in the gym already working towards the goal to make it back to State and place next year,” Pistorius said.

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