Beaming on the Beam: Three DG gymnasts finish in the top 10 in the state balance beam event

DG-BEAM

By Jeff Vorva | Photos courtesy of Downer Grove South

Freshman Edith Condon had a successful debut, finishing second in the state on the balance beam.

Genevieve Herion became just the second gymnast in Downers Grove South history to win a state championship.

And to do that, she had to edge out one of her teammates for the honor.

The Downers Grove co-op team, based at South and nicknamed the Trostangs, were beaming on the beam as three of their gymnasts finished in the top 10 in the balance beam event at the Illinois High School Association state meet on Feb. 16-17 at Palatine High School.

Herion, a junior at South, finished with a 9.5250 score which barely beat out South freshman Edith Condon, who had a 9.4750.

Also making the top 10 was Downers Grove North sophomore Kaelyn Landry, who was ninth with an 8.9000.

All three are scheduled to be back for the Trostangs next year. Could they finish 1-2-3 in 2025?

While that sounds like a tall task, it might not be impossible. DG coach Kristyn Campos said she thought it could happen this year. She wasn’t surprised to place three in the top 10 and to have a state champion on the team.

“You know the talent you have,” Campos said. “I told them ‘you guys can literally go 1-2-3. I thought we could take the top of the podium. I thought Gen or Edie could finish at No. 1 just because of the way they had been competing. Edie had a new beam routine at state and we changed some things up to help her place better and it worked.”

Herion joins Stephanie Grygiel as the only DGS state champ as Grygiel took first in the vault in 1991. Grygiel is the most decorated gymnast in Mustangs history as she won five top-6 medals in her career. Herion already has four with a year to go.

Why is this team all of a sudden so good on the beam?

“We all love the beam, and our coach has us do a lot of activities in practice so we can be prepared for meets,” Herion said. “All of us have worked so hard all season for the state meet.”

Herion also placed fifth in the all-around this year. In 2023, she placed third in the all-around and third in the uneven parallel bars as the co-op team won its first state championship. This year, it took second as they were squeezed out by Hersey 146.25-145.40.

She said she got her start at an early age as her older brothers, Brock and Bo, took up the sport when they were all young.

“I really looked up to them, and I got involved in the sport and have loved it ever since,” Herion said.

Downers Grove South’s Genevieve Herion is the second state champion gymnast in school history.

Campos has had fun watching Herion’s progression. “She has changed a lot as far as becoming more of a confident gymnast,” Campos said of her champion. “She has made some of her routines her own and has improved tremendously in the last two years. She has added difficulty to all of her routines. She has repeatedly been on the top of the podium all season. She was our conference champion, regional champion, and sectional champion. She was repeatedly pushing the limits, and it’s a new endeavor for her to realize just how good she is. She is becoming a leader of our team as time goes on.”

Condon admits that when she hit the gym for her first state finals, it was intimidating.

“Going in, I was nervous,” she said, “It definitely is so much more overwhelming. It’s really unexplainable. It’s loud. It’s crowded. It’s the best of the best. But it’s a lot of fun. You just have to be confident and trust your training. You know what you are doing. You just have fun and do your best.”

She said before her routines, she would take a few seconds, talk to herself, and breathe.

Heroin is already looking forward to next year because she said she cant wait to be back with the team.
“I love being with all of my teammates and building bonds with everyone,” she said. “It’s a big family. I’ve met so many amazing people. My coaches are amazing. Every time I come to practice, I have so much fun. These girls are my favorites.”

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