The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


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North Stars gymnastics raises the bar with regional tournament win

Joe Benoit
The gymnastics team holds their regional championship plaque.

Jan. 29 marked a monumental day for North’s gymnastics team. Spending every day training at the St. Charles Gymnastics Academy, they worked endlessly to achieve their title as the winners of the regional gymnastics tournament, not only as individuals but as an entire team. Considering the last time this occurred was back in 2015, there was cause for celebration. 

“It was an experience our team’s never felt before,” said Emily Johnson, a state-qualifying athlete on the team. “It was really exciting; I had a lot of fun.”

(Joe Benoit)

Starting the year off with mentalities and skill levels unique to every girl, each gymnast found herself facing barriers like never before and pushing themselves to work harder and harder to reach their athletic goals. 

“I was really upset after last season, and with how it ended it took me a while to get my motivation and drive for the sport back up,” said Rachel Nicastro, state-qualifying junior on the team. “It wasn’t honestly until a week before the season started that something came over me and I was like ‘okay, I want this and I want to do this.’”

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As the team progressed through the season, they each began to find their footing and come together as one. While it is not uncommon for an athlete to progress as an individual, the entire team competing at such a level takes dedication, skill, and love for everyone in your team, something they have been working towards all year. 

“Seeing everyone grow throughout the season and watching our team’s score grow every meet was honestly [the best part of the season],” said Nicastro.

(Joe Benoit)

The dynamic of their team contributed immensely to their success, even though it was a little different than normal. Having no seniors competing this year, the juniors of the gymnastics team stepped up to guide their younger peers and created a bond like no other that boosted their performance as a whole. 

“They’ve really taken the freshmen under their wings and helped them along, which makes my job so much easier. They’ve been really good, and I think next year will be the same,” said Tom Wirth, their gymnastics coach. 

Injury and mentality proved challenging as the team progressed through the year, though they persevered without fail. With a special shout-out to the girls who were injured this year and could not make it to the competition, such as Izzi Othon, who was out for a torn ACL, the North gymnastics team has come together and recognized each other in a way like never before and competed not only for themselves but for each other. 

“This year, everything was about the team. Everything was, ‘we want to do the best we can as a team and train as hard as we can,’ and it was a really fun season,” said Wirth. 

The bond the gymnasts formed from their newfound sense of togetherness shows in every teammate. With each girl pushing themselves for the next meet and the next landed skill, the pressure was on, but they were there for each other the entire time. Regardless of year or experience level, the girls competed for each other. 

“I feel like gymnastics without a team is just, nothing,” said Arianna Halick, a sophomore on the team. “You can’t do anything without their support.”

Not only does the team support each other, but it is from the guidance of their coach that they were able to achieve their goals. Reflecting on their season, it was without a doubt Wirth’s encouragement and persistence for their achievement as the team’s coach played a major role in their success. 

Rachel Nicastro and Emily Johnson with coach Tom Wirth at their state send off (Joe Benoit)

“I remember freshman year Tom telling me ‘just wait until your team’s got you. Just wait until this isn’t just an individual score,’” said Nicastro. “I feel like everyone does better when the team rallies together.” 

Following this year, the team plans on making it past sectionals altogether, pushing their limits once more and working even harder for their state-qualifying title. Wishing luck to their girls at state this year, the rest of the team buckles down for the next and reflects fondly on their outstanding accomplishment: winning regionals together. 

“This was really, really fun: one of my favorite seasons I’ve ever coached,” said Wirth. “We’re looking forward to having an even better one next year.” 

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Alyssa Kave
Alyssa Kave, Staff Writer
Alyssa is a staff writer for the Stargazer. She is a Senior and this is her first year on staff. Alyssa joined the team because she wanted to expand her writing skills, give journalistic writing a try, and meet some new people in the club. She hopes to explore each of the unique sections of Stargazer and give this year her all!

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