Senior Chloe Kratz is a fourth-year Oak Park and River Forest High School gymnast who is part of two sectional-qualifying teams and probably a third if not for the 2020-21 state series eliminated by COVID-19 restrictions.
“I’m excited to finish my high school career with a strong bang,” Kratz said. “I like the team part of it. I just like being with my friends and getting to practice and compete with them.”
This lineup potentially could be the strongest.
The Huskies scored 134.40 in their Dec. 1 opening win against Lyons Township High School and 135.00 on Dec. 11 for fourth place at the Hinsdale Central Invitational.
In their five-meet, COVID-affected season, the Huskies reached 136.40 at the West Suburban Conference Silver Division Meet finale. They scored the 140s once (140.15) when Kratz was a freshman.
“The nerves kind of got to some of us [at Hinsdale Central] because it was our first invite, but overall we did really well,” Kratz said. “We have a lot of strong and consistent girls so I think it makes for a really good team.”
Junior Maya Lim and sophomore Eleanor Wolski also were varsity regulars last season. Junior Caroline Radachua rejoins varsity after playing badminton as a sophomore. Senior Lena Tang and sophomore Gabby Morales also have varsity experience.
Three new sophomores with extensive club experience are Violet Ruff, Claire Rezny and Jane Walker.
“[Last season] was so short but I think this year we have more big skills if we can clean them up,” OPRF coach Kris Wright said. “We have more depth on each of the events. I have girls I can pick from and then [junior varsity gymnasts] that I can move up if I have to.”
Last season, OPRF shared second place in the WSC Silver with Hinsdale Central. Glenbard West is heavily favored for a seventh straight title this season.
Kratz and Tang and are among five seniors and four four-year team members, yet the Huskies have only 16 gymnasts.
“It’s the smallest team I can remember in the 29 years I’ve been here,” Wright said. “Last year we had 18 because of COVID. I lost a lot of those kids. I think they’re trying to see how the season goes and maybe they’ll come back next year. At least we had a couple of quality girls [join] so I’m thankful for that, and they’re only sophomores.”
At Hinsdale Central, Kratz finished third on the uneven parallel bars (8.7) and still hopes to add her higher-value double backflip dismount.
“I trained it over the summer and I did it once in practice. I don’t think it’s ready to compete yet but maybe soon,” Kratz said.
Lim was fifth on floor exercise (8.9). Walker was seventh on floor (8.75), Ruff (9.05) and Lim (9.0) were seventh and eighth on vault and Lim was seventh in all-around (34.35).
In beating Lyons Township High School, the Huskies achieved two 9s from event champions Ruff (9.15 on vault) and Kratz (9.0 on floor).