DGN Gymnastics faces facility complications


Nathan Maniskas

ONLY ROOM FOR ONE: New renovations leave only enough room in our school for one gymnastics team, which currently doesn’t have sufficient equipment for the girls.

Emma Gramm, Feature Editor

When the DGN girls gymnastics team were told they would be in a cooperative alliance with the DGS gymnastics team in 2019, they were under the impression that this would only remain through the 2020-2021 season. Yet, two seasons have passed and they still remain under the same circumstances. 

In 2019 both girls’ and boy’s teams were left without a gym and equipment due the new renovations replacing it with a loading dock. The teams transitioned to Downers Grove South, sharing equipment and space with their crosstown rivals.

After the two year co-op contract with IHSA ended, head gymnastics coach Kristyn Campos indicated that hiring coaches is still an issue, giving reason to renew the term. The previous coaches retired and the school was unable to fill the coaching openings.

“In general, the sport is down coaches, with several schools in our areas still trying to hire qualified gymnastics coaches,” Campos said.

Girls’ gymnasts have eased their way into this adjustment and the “Trostangs” came to be, a term used to combine both schools into a unified identity. Members of the team were not optimistic at first, but have since adapted. 

“Even though we had doubts about it, we all like it more than being divided,” junior Emily Smetana said. “It would also be pointless to switch back.”

Alumni Ellie Finley shared a different perspective on this, feeling like combining forces with DGS had the opposite effect on the team. In 2019 Finley made it through midseason before finally deciding to quit.

“I think one reason I didn’t like it was the divided feeling,” Finley said. “At DGN it really felt like they cared about everyone the same and we were one big family, when it did not really feel like that at DGS.” 

Another obstacle the team faced was transportation from one school to another. However, head athletic director Denise Kavanaugh feels that the girls found their own solutions to this. 

“Students, coaches communicate needs after rosters are set. Lacrosse is a co-op where Girls travel from DGS here and our Boys go to DGS. One of the solutions is carpooling for example,” Kavanaugh said. 

“Once the season starts we usually meet each other in the lobby and walk to each other’s cars,” Smetana said. 

In the spring of 2021, the boys’ gymnastics team made their way back to their home grounds at DGN after the renovations of the new gym space were completed. 

Junior Anthony Nicholas shares that the space is not like what they were used to, but has made the new conditions work for them.

“Although I wasn’t in the old gym that much, I know it was much bigger than what we have now. Even with the small space, we make it work every practice and are able to get the same amount of work done in the gym now, as before,” Nicholas said.

Most of the team’s equipment now is brand new, helping the team when it comes to their safety and trying new skills. Sophomore gymnast Colby Bormann appreciated the upgrade. 

“All the equipment is really nice and when you are on it you can really tell that it is good quality,” Bormann said. 

Last year the team hosted the West Suburban Conference and sectionals, making this work by relocating all the equipment down to the main gym in order to host these. Head Coach Tony Capeizaldo did not seem to mind the change. 

“If you are going to have a meet like a conference or sectionals it is nice to be in the main gym and then we can have family and friends,” Capeizaldo said. “I don’t really think about the old space anymore, we do everything we want to do in this new space.” 

Despite the challenges the programs have faced and losing what some may call the best facility in the state of Illinois, their talents have not faltered. 

Last season the girls’ team pulled off a win for the West Suburban Conference Title and the boys’ team came out winning their sectionals. 

From their shortened season last year, boys’ and girls’ gymnastics are anticipating the new season that is set to resume normally.

“I’m excited to have an actual season. We had a shortened season last year so it’ll be nice to have a full one this year and I believe we will win sectionals again,” Bormann said. 

New gymnast, senior Catie Monaco, shares her excitement becoming a part of the team. After she heard word about her friend joining the team, she decided to join along. Monaco is anticipating her first meet at Downers Grove South Dec 8. 

“I am so excited for the season. The past years I did not join because of the co-op situation and then COVID, but now I feel that everything is back to normal,” Monaco said.