Teammates congratulate Evanston’s Tait Hansen after her first vault during the team’s senior night meet vs. Glenbrook South at ETHS. Hansen finished fourth in the exercise. Credit: Michael Kellams/

For Evanston girls gymnastics coach Mike Spevack, Thursday’s senior night meet against Glenbrook South hurt. But it hurt so good.

The Wildkits, who have battled injury all season and still aren’t completely healthy, were competitive throughout the rotation, finishing 10 points behind the Titans, 131.10 to 121.90.

Evanston’s Ella Eovaldi performs her floor exercise during the senior night meet vs. Glenbrook South at ETHS. Eovaldi won the event. Credit: Michael Kellams/

“There were a lot of positives today,” Spevack said. “Not every meet goes perfectly. … It just makes me more excited because we have conference next week and we’re hosting it here. The positives today outweigh the negatives. The score, honestly, I kinda don’t care. Glenbrook South is a very good school.”

Evanston’s Tait Hansen on the run to her first vault during the team’s senior night meet vs. Glenbrook South at ETHS. Hansen finished fourth in the exercise. Credit: Michael Kellams/

GBS finished 1-2 in the all-around, with Evanston’s Tait Hansen finishing third at 29.80.

The teams split the individual events, with ETHS’s Ella Eovaldi winning the uneven bars (8.30) and floor (8.90). GBS won the beam and vault.

But Spevack, in keeping with his chalk-bowl-half-full outlook, was particularly impressed by the team’s vaulted performance on, you guessed it, the vault.

“We are well above our season average on vault,” the coach said. “We had one of the best vault meets we’ve had all year. So at the end of the day, for us, that’s a huge thing. Because a lot of times in gymnastics, your vault score is huge. What we did today is we almost completely matched a team that is incredibly good on vault. And we’re still not completely healthy on vault.” 

With the Central Suburban League conference meet next week and the state playoffs soon to start, Spevack knows his time with these seniors is nearing an end.

“They did great. They loved it. They had fun. They were living it up,” Spevack said. “I’ve never seen this team so lively before. I’ve been here five years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this team so happy.”

He’d know. He’s known a lot of them since they were in middle school, or longer.

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“A lot of these seniors, I’ve been working with for seven or eight years. I was coaching them before they were freshmen in high school.”

Every senior night requires a bit more of the competitors. And the coaches too.

“It’s a strange, almost sobering moment,” Spevack said. “I’ll be emotional later when they won’t see me.”

Michael Kellams

Michael Kellams worked at the The Detroit News, The Seattle Times and the Chicago Tribune during a 20-year career in journalism, working at jobs ranging from Design Director to Sports Editor and Business...

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