East, OHS cooperative gymnastics team places First at inaugural 2021 meet

Oswego junior Gwen Berenyi competes in the floor competition at the November 24th gymnastics meet held at Hinsdale South. According to Berenyi, she would like to see the entire team compete at state this year. Photo by Hafsah Haq.

Bringing home a first place finish for the entire event, the Oswego East and Oswego cooperative gymnastics team competed for the first time this season against nine other schools at Hinsdale South on Wednesday, November 24th.

Going into Wednesday night’s meet, the varsity team was still running on last year’s winning streak, which included a second place conference finish.

The team competed first in the floor exercise, where competitors perform flips and other moves to synchronized music, each athlete performing their own unique routine. 

The floor competitors included East senior Amelia Soriaga, Oswego sophomore Sam Phillip, Oswego juniors Kylie Phillip and Gwen Berenyi, and Oswego senior Kelsie Freundt. 

“The meet went really well,” Soriaga said. “We had some really strong performances on the floor especially, as well as some other good ones on the other two events. It was great for us to win because I think it will give us a lot of confidence going forward.”

East junior Sophia Perez is in her second year competing for the team. 

“We didn’t look that confident and there were a few falls,” Perez said of the meet. “It’s a completely normal thing at the beginning of the season and it will get better with time and more practice.”

The girls scored 43.25, putting them in 5th Place by the end of the floor performance.

After the floor exercise, the team competed in the vault performance, which consists of launching themselves into the air, performing any number of flips and somersaults, and sticking a firm landing. 

East sophomore Hailey Soriaga, senior Amelia Soriaga, Oswego sophomore Samantha Phillip, Oswego junior Kylie Phillip, and Oswego senior Kelsie Freundt competed in the vault, bringing back a team score of 44.05, a 4th Place finish.

“I think we did really well handling the pressure of the first meet,” East sophomore Hailey Soriaga said. “It’s always very stressful for everyone, and I think we did our best to focus and keep our cool at the same time, and that really allowed us to have fun and enjoy the meet.”

Competitors in the uneven bars included East junior Sarah Mustafa and Oswego junior Olivia Valenti, among others, bringing back a final score of 38.875, a 7th Place showing.

The final event of the day consisted of the beam performance, where the girls finished with a score of 39.65. 

Despite the First Place finish overall at Wednesday’s meet, the girls have set some goals for themselves to be met before the end of the season.

“We really need to work on our vaults and try to have five flipping vaults before the season ends,” junior Sarah Mustafa said. “We are also working on increasing our beam scores.”

The team had a final First Place finishing score of 134.875.

Before the end of the season, according to Coach Amanda Zielske, the intention is that each girl on the team will perform in every event at a meet.

“Overall, I am very pleased with how well the team did at our first meet and how much fun they had getting to compete in front of a crowd again. We have room to improve, but we are in a good spot right now,” Zielske said. 

The girls’ team will compete next on December 8th at Glenbard South.

Hafsah Haq is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl