OPRF junior gymnast Hannah Thompson qualified for the state tournament meet in vault (9.275) and bars (9.4) at the Lake Park Sectional on Feb. 8. (Courtesy of Hannah Thompson)

The Oak Park and River Forest High School girls gymnastics team benefitted greatly from the addition of three newcomers this season. Junior Hannah Thompson, previously a member of a very competitive club team, and freshmen Evelyn Dellgrazie and Iry Conley produced the Huskies’ best all-around scores at the Lake Park Sectional on Feb. 8.

Thompson finished 10th in all-around with a score of 35.75 at the sectional. She qualified for the state finals in bars and vault at Palatine High School this weekend.

“I earned a 9.4 on bars and a 9.275 on vault,” Thompson said. “I am thrilled to be able to go and represent OPRF at State on bars and vault.  In terms of scores, I was very happy with my bars score in particular. I placed sixth with that score and was 0.025 and 0.05 away from the fourth and fifth spots. The field was very close together in that regard.”

A few errors cost her in the other events.

“Unfortunately, I had a mistake on both beam and floor,” Thompson said. “That pulled me out of an all-around spot (at state) or qualification on beam or floor.”

Thompson recorded scores ofm 8.725 on beam and 8,35 on floor.

Dellegrazie and Conley scored 34.40 and 33.225, respectively, in all-around. Dellgrazie, who finished 17th in all-around, also scored 8.75 on vault, 8.65 on bars, 7.95 on beam and 9.05 on floor. Conley performed well on vault at 8.775.

“I thought my performance went well at sectionals,” Conley said. “I was most pleased with my bars score. The team did an amazing job. We all had a great time spending the evening together. It was very emotional because we got closer together and worked very hard to get (to sectionals).”

In the team standings, OPRF placed sixth with a score of 138.175. Glenbard West (149.425), Wheaton-Warrenville South (145.20) and DeKalb (144.175) took the top three spots in a stacked sectional.

Competing against such outstanding teams in a meaningful meet perhaps affected the Huskies’ performance.

“I feel that the sectional meet was not our best as a team,” junior Zion Phillpotts said. “I think it was because of the high pressure of the meet.”

Phillpotts placed 21st on vault (9.0250) on her handspring front tuck.

Fellow junior Sophia Preys concurred with Phillpotts’ assessment of OPRF.

“It wasn’t our best meet of the season,” said Preys, who finished 17th in bars (8.7). “We definitely had the ability to do so much better, but our teamwork really helped us stay positive. We were so supportive and there for each other the whole time.”

The Huskies return the bulk of their lineup next season. Along with the aforementioned gymnasts, junior Grace Luptak (sectional qualifier in 2017) junior Claire Massmann and sophomore Jenna Schainis will be back.

“We had a great season,” Thompson said. “OPRF produced some of its best team scores ever this year. We rose to the occasion at all of the meets. I am also really looking forward to being a part of what will be a very senior-heavy team.”

Veteran coach Kris Wright will foster the Huskies’ development.

“We have a higher level of gymnastics this year,” Wright said during the regular season. “We have a very focused group competing at a high level. There’s great team camaraderie and the girls really support each other.”

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...