Metea, Neuqua and Waubonise Combine to Create Valley Girls Gymnastics

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Since Metea Valley opened its doors in 2009 girls interested in gymnastics had their chance to compete with gymnasts from District 204 rival Waubonsie Valley with the creation of the Waubonsie/Metea Co-Op. The team produced regional champions in 2011 and 2012 as well as numerous sectional and state individual qualifiers. This Feature Story is presented by Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Fast forward to 2022 and a third Valley member is being added to the pack in the form of Neuqua Valley. This winter the athletic departments officially put together the District 204 Co-Op featuring all three Valley schools as one combined team.

“The girls have all adapted well, they’re working really well together and really hard together. I think it’ll be great for all of them,” said District 204 Co-Op Head Coach Katie Novorolsky.

Three Become One

The formation came after low numbers in past seasons for the Waubonsie/Metea Co-Op along with departure of previous Waubonsie/Metea head coach Phil Gilmer who left the program after the 2021 shortened season. Even with the addition of Ashley Piton taking over for Gilmer, the program was in need of a change. Eventually the decision was made to join forces with their former rival, Neuqua Valley.

“So a lot of them train outside so in the offseason, they work out together or they have in the past. So most of them already knew each other so it was a really easy transition for the majority of them. We’ve done some team building and just little fun activities to get them to know each other and it’s worked out well,” said Novorolsky.

Katie Novorolsky enters her 6th season with Neuqua Valley, but this is her first with the District 204 girls gymnastics Co-Op structure. Despite coaching the blue and gold in the past, she is no stranger to the other schools in the district as she teaches at Waubonsie Valley. Being familiar with all three schools helps create a smooth transition.

“It’s really nice to be able to coach kids in the school’s that I teach at and to be able to see them in the halls and it’s just a lot more fun to get to know them a little better when you see them at school too,” said Novorolsky.

District 204 Talent Pool Deepens

Seeing a larger talent pool come together should certainly make this newly formed team a formidable threat as the season goes along, especially when it comes to advancing through regionals, sectionals and the state meet.

As for the gymnasts themselves, the girls from Waubonsie and Metea Valley have obviously gotten along well for a while. Now with Neuqua in the mix, it was a little challenging at first but with a month into the season all the pieces have come together.

“It was definitely a big adjustment because we all didn’t know each other going into it but just after three weeks we’ve gotten to know each other and we’re all starting to work as a team which is great,” said junior Hailey Mitchell.

Rivals Become Teammates

Girls like Hailey Mitchell, Stephanie Svec, who were with the Co-Op previously, and Xara Gin, and four-year varsity gymnast Lauren Codero from Neuqua Valley, all return to help lead the charge in the gymnastics room. For athletes like Cordero, the new enhanced roster helps push her and the rest of the team’s competition to new heights.

“I really enjoy combining with them because during competitions we sometimes talk to each other, and I don’t think of them as rivals. Now we’re all combined, we get to spend every day with each other, and I really like that,” said senior Lauren Cordero.

As the District 204 girls gymnastics Co-Op enters its first season with two meets under the team’s belt so far, it will be exciting what the gymnasts and the coaching staff will bring to the table this winter.

“It’s a special experience to be a part of it and like I said coaching kids I have taught in the classroom and now bringing them in here and getting everyone to work together has just been a great experience and really love all three athletic departments at all three schools so being able to be a part of all of it,” said Novorolsky.

For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Patrick Codo.