Warriors off to 3-1 start in conference action.

By Mike Miazga


The Willowbrook girls gymnastics team continues to make improvements as the calendar heads into the final third of the season.

Through late last week the Warriors were 3-3 overall at the varsity level in dual meets and 3-1 in West Suburban Conference Gold Division action. Willowbrook’s junior-varsity team was 3-2 overall and 3-0 in WSC Gold meets.

In recent action, the Warriors took fourth at the varsity level at the Glenbard West quad meet, while the JV team took third.

At the Downers Grove North tri-meet, Willowbrook was second at both the varsity and JV levels.

In a recent loss to Hinsdale South in WSC Gold action, Willowbrook recorded a season-high 125.2 at the varsity level.

The Warriors also were winners against WSC Gold foe Leyden at the varsity level and they took fourth at the Addison Trail invitational with a 121.7 score, finishing ahead of their District 88 counterparts.

Top returning gymnasts from last year’s team include sophomore all-arounder Karli Wilson and junior Autumn Palacios, who competes on beam and floor exercise.

Key newcomers to the team include freshmen all-arounders Maeve Costello, Alexis Fitzgerald, Kylie Rodgers, Riley Wieringa and Abby Wrenn.

Willowbrook coach Deanna Zuchowski said one thing she’s been impressed with thus far is the group’s embracement of the team concept. “That encourages the athletes to push one another to make each other better,” she said. “We talk a lot about bettering yourself for your teammates. ‘Once you get better, we all get better.’ It’s easy for a team concept to get lost when gymnastics is such an individual sport, but at the high-school level it’s important for them to help each other. They are assisting each other with their routines, what to do in each of their routines and important critiques they all can learn from. The girls have been working on connecting their skills on beam. Now they just have to perfect them and start hitting their tricks during a meet.”

Thus far, the Warriors have excelled on beam and vault. “They all have tried new and more difficult routines and have been successful in accomplishing the new skills,” said Zuchowski. “The girls also have been trying new skills on beam and trying to do their connections with ease. We have started to hit full sets during meets.”

Wilson recently took ninth in the all-around scoring at the Addison Trail invitational.

“Karli has stepped up and has really become an important asset to this young group of girls,” said Zuchowski. “Karli is an all-around great teammate. She comes in early, stays late to perfect her skills she may have missed the previous meet and she encourages her teammates at all levels. She has goals not only for herself, but for the team as a whole. She always is looking toward the future of the team and how she can help each individual.”

Zuchowski likes the progress her squad as made this season. “We have a young team again this year,” she said. “We have had to overcome some early obstacles with injuries and sicknesses with this young team to get them ready for the quick season. The new freshmen have stepped up of late and are starting to feel more comfortable. From the top down, the girls have progressed.”

Willowbrook returns to action this coming Monday against Glenbard South and face District 88 neighbor Addison Trail on Thursday, Jan. 11.


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