Sophomore Gymnast Rachel Nicastro Competes in State Championship


Rachel Nicastro

Gymnast Rachel Nicastro at state competition

Magen Kranz and Tess Arendt

Sophomore Rachel Nicastro represented the St. Charles North gymnastics team at State on Feb. 17. The competitions were held at Palatine High School. 

Gymnastics State competitions typically take place over the course of two days, the first day consisting of prelims which allow gymnasts to qualify for the next day if they place well. 

This wasn’t Nicastro’s first ever State experience, as she had traveled to State her freshman year where she competed in beam. However, this time was far more physically demanding and stressful as she competed in all the available events: floor, vault, bar and beam. 

“Last year I had to just sit around and wait for everyone… this time, I didn’t really have time to sit around. I was also just a lot more nervous,” said Nicastro. 

Nicastro underwent a very physically challenging season, where she suffered several minor injuries that altered her overall performance at State and other competitions. 

“My body has kind of giving out on me this season. My shins [were] in a lot of pain, so that kind of took a toll on my training,” said Nicastro. “I probably could have had a better season if I wasn’t in so much pain.” 

Alongside her teammates, Nicastro trained five days a week at St. Charles Gymnastics Academy leading up to State. Gymnasts not only put effort into perfecting skill during the season, but over the summer and in the offseason as well. 

“You really have to train year-round, so you don’t lose your skills,” said Nicastro. “We have summer practices and then you start at school.” 

Looking back on the competitions, Nicastro wished she focused more on the positives of making it to State. 

“I wish I would’ve laid back more…I didn’t really have that much fun because I was so nervous,” said Nicastro.

Reflecting on State and her season overall, Nicastro is most proud of her team and their experiences together. 

“I’ve had the best season with the best team. I’ve honestly gotten so lucky,” said Nicastro. “I’m really proud of them and for myself. I’m just proud of the skills that I accomplished and the new ones I got.”