Muench, Hallin land state placements for girls gymnastics


Freshman Emma Hallin performs her beam routine at the 2018 IHSA State Gymnastics meet.

Tyler Yakimisky, Sports Editor

The girls gymnastics team continued its prominence in IHSA Girls Gymnastics as the team sent two gymnasts to state for the second straight year.

This year’s state tournament took place at Palatine High School on Feb. 16-17.

Unlike last year with one upperclassman and one underclassman competing, this year’s state participants were one sophomore and one freshman: Amanda Muench and Emma Hallin.

The sectional meet, which took place at Niles North High School in Skokie on Tuesday, Feb. 6, featured high schools, such as Glenbrook South, New Trier, Carmel, Deerfield and MHS.

Hallin and Muench both qualified for state in beam. Muench placed second, which qualified for an automatic state bid, while Hallin got an at-large bid.

Hallin and Muench both were all-around competitors throughout the entirety of the season competing in all four events: vault, bars, floor and beam.

Previous to the high school season, Muench competed in club gymnastics for a team that is part of the Team U.S.A.’s gymnastics program.

“It was a great transition into high school season. It helped me get really prepared for the high school season,” said Muench, who added that pre-high school season meets, more practice and more coaching were some of the aspects that prepared her for her first high school season.

She also said she believes there were a few routines she used during practices and warm-ups that helped her reach her highest potential during her season.

“I would say the best thing to do before meets is just reps. Just doing things over and over again and just get it as solid and be as confident as you can be,” said Muench.

As for Hallin, she competed in club in past years, however, did not compete in club previous to this year’s season.

Simulations, meet-like circumstances and highly intense practices were also some of the practice tools that helped these gymnasts have a successful season.

“We did a lot of pressure sets in the gym,” said Jesse Piland, head coach of the varsity gymnastics team.  “We play crowd noise through the stereo and try to distract the gymnasts to make them focus more on what they’re doing,”

Piland remembered being impressed with the team’s ability early in the season after one meet in particular.

“After the girls varsity team won the Addison Trail Invite over holiday break, that’s when I knew they were very capable of being a special team,” said Piland.

Specifically, Piland saw certain traits in Muench and Hallin that he knew would lead to success as sectionals and state approached.

“Amanda and Emma have the right attitude for the sport,” he said. “They are both tough and hardworking.”

Because Muench and Hallin are underclassmen, the future remains promising for the girls gymnastics program.

“The experience will be good not only now, but in the future, too, as we continue to get older and older,” said Hallin.

Hallin ended up finishing 10th at state on beam with a score of 8.65, only .87 behind the first place finisher. Muench placed 21st in the preliminary round with a score of 9.025 on beam but did not advance from there.

As for now, Hallin and Muench will take their most recent experience at state and remember it for the rest of their lives.

Muench recalled when she heard their names announced as state qualifiers: “When you think about it, it’s the whole state, and it kind of hits you like, ‘Wow, this is really happening.’”