Teams compete in virtual meets

Gymnastics, bowling face off in separate locations from opponents

At+a+varsity+boys+gymnastics+meet+against+Glenbrook+South+on+April+6%2C+sophomore+Sam+Diaz+performs+his+floor+routine.+While+this+meet+was+held+in+person%2C+girls+gymnastics+and+bowling+teams+participated+in+virtual+meets+throughout+their+seasons%2C+which+required+them+to+compete+at+locations+separate+from+their+opponents.+Photo+by+Saruul-Erdene+Jagdagdorj

At a varsity boys gymnastics meet against Glenbrook South on April 6, sophomore Sam Diaz performs his floor routine. While this meet was held in person, girls gymnastics and bowling teams participated in virtual meets throughout their seasons, which required them to compete at locations separate from their opponents. Photo by Saruul-Erdene Jagdagdorj

Peter Bazianos and Daphne Giltner

Accustomed to a gym full of spectators and opponents during her varsity gymnastics meets, sophomore Betsy Alcorn had to adjust to a new competitive atmosphere during virtual meets this year.

“We actually don’t get to see the other team where we’re competing, so you don’t get as nervous,” said Alcorn in a phone interview. “It feels like there’s less pressure, which is a lot different.”

Vicki Munch, Central Suburban League girls gymnastics judge coordinator, said in a phone interview that this year, girls gymnastics teams in the CSL competed in separate facilities and were scored by different judges in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

Munch is confident in the accuracy of the results of virtual meets, she said. She assigned around 15 judges to meets this year, and not one of them was new to judging in the CSL. Munch also judged virtual meets.

“I’d say that 85 percent of the time, whoever won would have won [if the competition was held in person].

“It’s probably even a higher percentage,” Munch said. 

Julie Holmbeck, head girls gymnastics coach, said in a phone interview that virtual meets were overall less intense than traditional meets, but everyone was generally happy with the situation.

“It’s not necessarily consistent because each judge has their own subjective view on things, but it was the safest and the fairest way [to] compete and keep everybody well and safe,” Holmbeck said.

According to Alcorn, “Every judge judges differently, so some of them are easier or harder than others.”

According to Munch, in this year’s meets, each team was scored by one judge who covered all four events: beam, bars, floor and vault. In past years, two judges scored each dual meet, and each judge covered two events for both teams. This year, some judges ended up judging the same team for multiple meets due to proximity to their homes.

The girls and boys bowling teams also competed in virtual meets, with teams competing at different locations and sometimes at different times.

Senior Colin Li has been part of the boys bowling program since freshman year and said in a phone interview that the virtual format lacked the updates on the opponent’s score that he was used to in previous years.

“It becomes … a lot more [of] a game where you just have to focus on yourself and not worry about what the other team is doing,” Li said.

Todd Rubin, varsity boys bowling coach, said in a phone interview that the boys bowling conference tournament was held in person, and varsity teams from all participating schools bowled at the same location at the same time.

The boys varsity bowling team finished as CSL conference co-champions with Vernon Hills, Rubin said.

Senior Jack Klebba led the team in scoring, said Rubin. Klebba averaged 225 throughout the season — the highest average score of any boys bowler in Glenbrook North program history and the history of the CSL conference.

According to Munch, for the girls gymnastics conference meet, she scored each of the six teams in the CSL South Division. The teams competed on six separate days in their home gyms. Glenbrook North finished third in the meet.

“I think everything shook out like it would have if we would have been in person,” Munch said.

According to Alcorn, she felt less pressure during virtual meets.

“It’s definitely a lot less stress,” said Alcorn. “It feels less like you’re competing and a lot more like practice. Depending on the person, that could be a good or bad thing.”