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Gymnast makes good on promise to teammate

eths-wildkits

Andrea Glaser made good on a promise Monday night.

After vowing to achieve some postseason success for an injured gymnastics teammate, Glaser delivered in a big way at the Mundelein Regional meet.

The Evanston sophomore qualified for the sectional in all four events, plus the all-around competition, and became the first ETHS gymnast since the Katz twins (Emma and Naomi) back in 2007 to advance from the regional to the sectional in multiple events. She’ll join individual qualifiers from three other regionals this week at the Niles North Sectional on Feb. 13.

Glaser produced season best scores in the all-around (34.80), where she finished second, and on uneven bars, fourth at 8.25. She also placed second on vault with a score of 8.90, registered a third on balance beam at 8.75, and finished fourth on floor exercise at 8.90. The top five placers in each event earned automatic advancement to the sectional.

One of the first people Glaser hugged — after repeated trips to the medal stand — was teammate Emily Varua, who blew out her knee in the second meet of the regular season against Niles West and must undergo extensive surgery to repair the damage. Varua narrowly missed earning a sectional trip last year for the Wildkits.

The tears flowed freely in that exchange between best friends.

“When Emily got hurt, I told her I’d qualify for sectional for her,” Glaser said. “That’s why I’m so happy, because I was able to do it for her. I never really thought I’d be in this position, to be second in the all-around. It’s really a pleasant surprise. I didn’t want to have any regrets tonight, and that score on bars definitely surprised me. I haven’t hit in the 8s for awhile now.

“I just tried to do my best. Emily is one of my best friends, even outside the gym, and it was heartbreaking for me to watch her have to sit this year. And since she was out I had to learn to push myself. I think that helped me in the long run.”

“I knew she could do it, once she wanted it bad enough,” said Evanston coach Chester Jones. “Andrea can be difficult to work with — but talented people usually are. We are still adjusting to each other. Andrea is a rough diamond who sparkles once in awhile, but doesn’t have the polish yet. And she has her own way of doing things. But now I’d have to say she has matured. She’s seeing some of the benefits of the things we’ve been trying to tell her day-to-day.

“The feel-good part of tonight for the program is that it’s nice to get someone through to the sectional, although it would be better to finally get someone to State, because it’s been awhile. It was devastating for us and for Andrea when we lost Emily like that. She was working and pushing Andrea hard in practice, and I can’t help but ask how good they both would have been if they’d been able to push each other this year.”

While Jones used the term “headstrong” to describe the sophomore standout, Glaser admitted that sometimes she can just be plain stubborn.

“I think I’m a little more stubborn because I’m a club kid, and I have more experience,” said the ETHS sophomore. “I have experience, so I think I know what works and what doesn’t for me. After awhile I just got tired of fighting with Coach. And he pushes me in a good way.”

As a team, the Wildkits couldn’t quite match their season-high score from the Central Suburban League South division meet. Five falls on their final event, balance beam, dropped their total to 122.925. The Kits placed fourth in the regional field behind Mundelein (138.45), Glenbrook North (134.475) and Wheeling (126.175).

Junior Clara Gruger scored Evanston’s only other top 10 individual finish, with a score of 8.5 that added up to 8th place on vault. Gruger and Glaser were part of a postseason lineup that featured no seniors on the roster as junior Shannon Fitzgibbons, junior Lucy Bowser, sophomore Kelsey Siegel and junior Katie Budde all gained valuable experience.

Another underclassman, sophomore Lauren Galen, would have competed at the regional on vault but was scratched after suffering a broken leg at the conference meet.

“Some of these girls have so much talent, but because they’re multi-sport girls we won’t see them again until next season starts,” Jones pointed out. “With no seniors you can say OK, we’re going to be good next year. But we need to see them in the gym at least some of the time, not for just six weeks (during the season).”

Source: ETHS Sports Information

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