Sophomore Violet Ruff received big lessons in her first season on the Oak Park and River Forest High School girls gymnastics team from the veterans.
“I’ve just learned from them to push through even when it’s really hard,” Ruff said. “They’re just good role models and they always support the team. I learn from them to always cheer, even when I see them have a rough day. Then when I’m having a rough day, I know that I can push through it and have a better day tomorrow.”
The Huskies were mostly focused on the future after their season ended at the IHSA Sectional at Oswego on Feb. 7.
All-arounder Chloe Kratz was the only senior among the seven competing Huskies who also were all individual qualifiers. Ruff, juniors Maya Kim and Caroline Raducha and sophomores Jane Walker, Eleanor Wolski and Gabby Morales also advanced.
The Huskies finished sixth with 131.65 points, their lowest score this season, after a season-high 135.65 at the Downers Grove South Regional on Feb. 2 to advance to sectionals as a team for the fourth straight postseason.
Because there was no 2021 state series due to the pandemic, only Kratz, Lim and Raducha previously had competed at sectionals.
“I think the girls were really nervous like way too much pressure this meet,” OPRF coach Kris Wright said. “Some girls put it together and did what they needed to do. Maybe in a month it’ll be a memory that we can kind of laugh at, but right now it’s kind of hard.”
Ruff had the Huskies’ highest individual finish, tying for seventh on vault (9.0), which was .15 from advancing to state with a top-five finish.
Another solid tuck Yurchenko vault by Ruff equaled her regional score. Ruff hopes to upgrade to a pike Yurchenko for next season.
“It was really cool. I was a little bit nervous but I landed it and I was super happy when I saw my score,” Ruff said.
Lim and Walker tied for 15th in all-around (33.225), Ruff was 18th (32.875) and Kratz was 29th (30.525).
Walker had the next highest finish with 14th on balance beam (8.325). Walker also tied for 22nd on the uneven parallel bars (8.05) and tied for 23rd on vault (8.55).
“I’d say the highlight was my beam routine because it just felt pretty solid. I didn’t wobble so much so I was happy about that,” Walker said.
Lim and Kratz qualified in all four individual events. Lim tied for 18th on vault (8.7) and was 20th on uneven bars (8.15) and 26th on beam (7.85) and floor exercise (8.525). Kratz tied for 26th on vault (8.425) and was 32nd on uneven bars (7.4), 33rd on beam (6.75) and 34th on floor (7.95).
Morales tied for 19th on beam (8.05), Wolski tied for 28th on floor (8.45) and Raducha was 29th on vault (8.35).
“I think it’s good to learn [from sectionals] that nothing is guaranteed because [at regionals] we did so well,” Walker said. “[Sectionals] was a little bit different but we still tried really hard. Nothing is for sure.”