There's one main objective to doing well in gymnastics and that's staying free from injury. After a season chocked full of ailments, the Oak Park and River Forest gymnastics team returns this year healthy and ready for action.
"The season is short to begin with so injuries are a coach's worse nightmare," said OPRF head coach Kris Wright. The Huskies are looking to extend this season for as long as possible.
Kathryn Gevitz and M.G. Senseng headline this year's team. Both are returning from a season where the Huskies finished no better than fifth in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference. Senseng, now a junior, starred for the Huskies as a freshman when she qualified for the IHSA State Meet. A severe ankle injury left her out of many vault events last year, but Wright said Senseng, who won the bars event in the team's first meet against Morton on Nov. 22, is completely healed.
"M.G. is back to her regular form," said Wright. "She's going to make great strides as the season progresses."
Gevitz, who made it as far as sectionals last year, kicked off this season by taking first on the beam and second in both the floor exercises and all-around.
Others expected to make a major contribution this season include captain Claire Sapko, juniors Erica Gibbons and Teresa Weik, sophomore Catherine Malin and newcomer Kaci Cunningham, a much-needed addition to the team, according to Wright.
"Kaci is a freshman but she's an experienced gymnast, and that will help us tremendously," said Wright.
The Huskies were edged by Lyons Township 135.8-133.8 in their first conference meet last week. Senseng took first on the bars with a 9.2, while Gevitz won the beam with an 8.9.
OPRF finished seventh out of 20 teams at the Al Galatte Gymnastics Invite on Saturday. Gevitz scored the Huskies' best finish at the tournament with a fourth place on the beam.
"Obviously we are always wanting to improve," said Wright. "I think we have the potential to get individuals to State. Barring injuries, we should do alright."
The Huskies travel to York today (Wednesday) before competing in the Hinsdale Central Invitational on Saturday (10 a.m.).