Glenbard West wins seventh consecutive silver title
Sophomore Janelle Gama and her Glenbard West gymnastics teammates have grown accustomed to team success.
After back-to-back state titles in 2018-19, the Hilltoppers usually got their first spots from 2021 graduate Anna Diab, including all five titles at last season’s West Suburban Conference Silver Division Meet and four in 2020.
“She was really consistent,” Gama said. “One thing I really learned from her was to be really confident and try to stay calm and not freak out because that’s when you do your best.”
On Saturday, Gama and Junior Skylar Oh enjoyed their first Silver singles titles, while the Hilltoppers calmly extended their unprecedented streak of consecutive Silver titles to seven by winning the Silver Meet at Hinsdale Central.
The Hilltoppers (143.00 points) were well ahead of Oak Park-River Forest (133.725) and Hinsdale Central (133.325), York (130.975) and Lyons Township (128.05).
Oh won the floor exercise (9.3) and Gama tied for first place on the balance beam with Hinsdale Central senior Annette Sommers (9.0). Hinsdale Central senior Kelly Klobach swept all-around (36.425), vault (9.675) and uneven bars (9.075).
Glenbard West seniors Alina Bhagwakar and Meagan McNamara, and juniors Sammy Hopper, Autumn White and Brooklyn Ford also earned the top five individual medals.
Hopper placed second in the all-around (36.00) and vault (9.35). Bhagwakar was second on uneven bars (8.85).
“That’s good because last year we could count on Anna and this year we couldn’t,” Oh said. “It means that we all stood up and worked very hard so that we can win this.”
Also, Glenbard West coach Carlos Fuentes felt the team had completed all 20 routines for their second straight meeting with the Regionals next Wednesday.
“We take great pride in the consistency of the program year after year with different groups of athletes. It’s not easy to win a conference championship, so seven in a row is special for us,” Fuentes said.
For example, Oh is usually strongest on uneven bars but sat out the event due to injury.
“I’m really excited about (Floor) because I wouldn’t say Floor is my strongest event,” Oh said. “(That) shows how much I’ve improved in this event. I really tried to make all my passes consistent.”
McNamara (9.275) and Gama (9.15) on vault and Ford (8.75) and Hopper (8.625) on uneven bars completed the 2-3-4 Glenbard West finishes.
Diab, a master of beam, would have enjoyed seeing Gama followed by White in third (8.95) and Hopper in fourth (8.75). Gama was also third in the all-around (35.70) and fourth on the floor (9.0).
“Anna has really shown confidence that she can really help with our beam routines,” Gama said.
The only person besides Diab to win a conference title in the past two seasons was 2020 Hinsdale Central graduate Caroline Klobach, Kelly’s sister, who also captured the vault.
“There’s quite a family feud[with the Diabs],” Klobach said, laughing.
“It feels really good (three wins). My (Yurchenko layout) jump was probably my best jump of the season and I had my best floor.”
Sommers, third overall as a freshman, missed the 2021 meeting with her back injury.
“I’m really glad I decided to come back this season,” Sommers said. “Our names are on the wall in the (exercise) gym, so we’re definitely looking forward to that.”
York senior Martha Miklyukh continued her best season by finishing third on floor (personal best 9.2), fourth in all-around (34.35) and fifth on uneven bars (8.5).
At their fourth Silver Meet, Miklyukh’s best result so far was 13th place.
“I’m totally surprised. My back feels it, but now all events are hitting,” Miklyukh said. “My floor has gotten much better. I upgraded my passports and it got clean and I added a lot of bonuses.”
LT junior Annmarie Holmes tied for fourth on floor (9.0) and sixth on beam with a fall.
“I was really proud of this (floor) routine. I hit all my falling passes,” said Holmes.
York high-ranked contender Maryalice Shockey fractured her left ankle on a beam dismount during Thursday’s practice session and will be out for the postseason. LT’s Emily Tucker and Hinsdale Central’s Charlotte French were injured during Saturday’s warm-up but hope to return for the Regionals.