By Mike Miazga

The York girls gymnastics team recently placed third at the Niles North invitational with a 100.8 score in the three-score meet. The Dukes also were seventh at the York invitational with a 132.25 score, which was the team’s high in a dual-judge format this season.

Jessica Dryden has been strong of late for the Dukes. She had scores of 9.45 and 9.35 on vault in two recent meets. Lailah Waddel had a 34.6 in the all-around at Niles North, while Megan Cronin had a 9.1 on floor exercise at the York invite.

“The best thing the team is doing is still being positive and flexible in the gym and stepping up whenever they are needed,” said York coach Anthony Colant. “We recently hosted JV2 conference, a varsity invite and then a park district invite that started on a Saturday night and ran all through Sunday night and the girls had to help organize and run it, which they did a great job with. The work ethic both inside and outside the gym is consistently fantastic.”

Colant has seen key improvements on vault. “We have gone from a team score of 33.025 from our first invite to a 36.6 with a dual-panel judge at our last invite,” he pointed out. “We went from competition two half/half’s to having two piked tsuks, two tucked tsuks and having two handspring fulls that we switch off with, with another tsuk coming soon and possibly a handspring front.”

York is still hard at work on the beam improvement front. “We still struggle to hit consistently on beam,” said Colant. “While we usually have one or two decent scores every meet, we also have one or two routines that usually have two or three falls in them. Consistent routines will improve our scores by almost two points without making a single change.”

Colant also lauded the improvement of Caroline Marshall. “Caroline has really stepped up to fill any and all holes in our lineups we have needed,” the coach said. “Not only has she boosted her own scores by almost five points overall, but she has been extremely flexible on being bounced around from event to event at different meets.”

Colant likes what he has seen this year on the improvement front. “I’m still really excited about how much progress we’ve made from last season where we only had two girls qualify for sectionals and none for state,” he said. “This year we realistically are hoping to qualify our entire vault team for sectionals and at least one girl on each of the other events with two hoping to qualify for all-around and we have one girl (Jessica Dryden) who has a realistic chance at state on vault and one girl who still is a bit of a long shot in Megan Cronin on bars, depending on how the next week or two of practice goes.”

York competed in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division meet at Hinsdale Central recently where Colant was hoping the team would hit 133, “before turning our sights on individual scores for regionals where we will be adjusting our lineups to qualify some girls who wouldn’t normally compete, such as Megan on beam, because their individual scores are too low, but we’re hoping to qualify them as all-arounders so they’ll be taking girls’ spots who wouldn’t qualify for sectionals.”


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