As a club gymnast, junior Taylor Ramirez sometimes struggled for that little extra push in practice and competition.
The answers have arrived in her first season with the Glenbard West girls gymnastics program.
She’s among many new contributors that have helped the Hilltoppers currently hold the state’s No. 1 ranking for scoring average.
“I was really lucky to find that here. I think It’s been really good for me and I’ve improved a lot so that’s why I switched,” Ramirez said. “Everyone’s really good at motivating you."
The Hilltoppers achieved a season-high 147.35 to win the District 87 Invitational Dec. 28.
Junior Maddie Diab (37.90), already a four-time Individual state champion in all-around or events, had a first-place, season-high all-around total for the second straight invite. She won vault (9.525), uneven parallel bars (9.6) and floor exercise (9.525) and was second on balance beam (9.475).
“I feel like I’m on track. There’s definitely room for improvement but I hit all of my routines so that was exciting,” Diab said.
Freshman Anna Diab, Maddie’s sister, won beam (9.25) and was second in all-around (37.20) and uneven bars (9.275). Ramirez was second on vault (9.35) and floor (9.275) and third in all-around (36.35) Juniors Katherine Hoban and Maia Lee also had top-five event finishes.
“It’s a little bit more competitive to make the lineup this year, but this definitely motivates us,” Maddie Diab said. “We also have higher goals than last year so that also motivates us to try and keep working harder and improve.”
Glenbard West’s 146.967 is the state’s current top sectional seed score based on its three highest eligible scores. The Dec. 28 season high from the average of two judges’ scores each event is second only to Glenbrook South’s 147.40 Dec. 7 with one-judge scores.
“We know [a state trophy is] a possibility. It’s just never a guarantee,” Glenbard West coach Carlos Fuentes said. “We know where we sit. [But] we can’t control what the other teams do. If we’re consistent and perform well, that just gives us more confidence.”
Lee, coming off an ACL knee injury, began with uneven bars and has added beam and soon vault. The powerful Myers has been competing on everything but beam but limited to uneven bars the past two meets by an ankle injury. Ramirez’s best meet has been the Conant Invite Dec. 9, where she (37.85) and Anna Diab (37.575) finished 1-2 in all-around. Without Maddie Diab, the Hilltoppers still won (146.65).
“Even if you have a little bit of a shaky routine or off day, you just know that your teammates can step up,” Ramirez said. “We’re all working really hard for each other, not just for ourselves, and I really like that about high school.”
Glenbard East (139.40) and Glenbard South (107.55) were second and third. Freshmen all-arounders Kali Kartheiser and Rebecca Honig and junior Sierra Olson had top-five finishes for the Rams, whose season high is 141.75. Glenbard South had its second-highest total to its 108.15 Dec. 1.