St. Charles co-op gymnast Kelly Gorniak sent arguably the happiest text of the season to date Thursday night, trumpeting the news that the team had advanced to the Friday and Feb. 22 state meet as an at-large entry. St. Charles scored a runner-up 143.15 at sectionals Tuesday, but was forced to wait two nights to see if it would make the state cut. Gorniak proved more antsy than most, traveling to the state’s fourth and final sectional Thursday night at Niles North. A St. Charles North senior, Gorniak updated Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Kevin Druley on the latest with the co-op in this week’s edition of the Weekend Chit-chat. The following is an edited transcript:
They tell me you went to Niles and left nothing to chance.
Yeah, I’m one of those people, I have to know for myself. I went with my mom, and me and my mom had the scoresheets and we were following them to a ‘T,’ and we missed the first event, so we were kind of freaking out trying to catch up and stuff. But it was really exciting to be there and know exactly, for sure, at that moment.
And what was the aftermath once you learned?
Then I’m texting everyone in my contact list … a big group chat that was very exciting.
What was in your mind during the waiting?
Those teams could easily obtain that score, so that’s what made it nervous for us, but it ended up working out in our favor, so that was nice.
What’s the morale been like this season?
Just all season, you know, it’s keep working hard in the gym. What you do in practice really comes down to what you do in the meet. So just been working hard all season. … Last year we were a little upset with our [state] finish of eighth place out of all of them. This year, we focused on not only making it to state, but what can we do when we get to state.
How is the gym and atmosphere at Palatine?
It’s crazy, because they’ve got all the stands going up, but the gym’s really nice, and it’s just a whole different experience than all the other meets. Getting into that state series, it’s just a lot more serious and a lot more focused going into it. … It’s just, I think, the pressure you have riding on yourself when you’re up there in that position. To do well not only for your team, but yourself, as well, that you’ve got to do well there in order to get to state.
I know we’re in the Winter Olympics now, but how much gymnastics do you watch during the Summer Games?
Oh my gosh, I love watching the gymnastics in the Olympics. That’s one thing that always motivated me, getting me back in the gym. Seeing those girls do what they do, and then it just gives me motivation when I get in the gym.
Do you do much cross training, or do you find gymnastics workouts do the trick by themselves?
We don’t necessarily run a lot. It’s a lot more strength and being able to lift your body weight, because that’s really what you do in gymnastics. You’re lifting your own body weight. Over the summer, I will go to, like, LA Fitness or XSport to get just a little extra time, but now, in-season, I don’t have much time. I mean, this keeps you fit enough.