Willowbrook's Angie Dybisz enjoys lots of sports, including swimming and badminton.
She also has loved competing in gymnastics all four years for the Warriors.
This year, she's the only senior remaining in the program.
"Definitely the coaches (have kept me going), definitely all of the team members, all of their support, my family definitely. All of them," Dybisz said. "I was hoping there’d be a few more to join me. Freshman year, there were a few (other freshman gymnasts), but they didn’t stick with it."
On Thursday, Dec. 9, Dybisz received most of the attention during Willowbrook's Senior Night ceremonies in Villa Park and she made the event even better. She had one of her best meets, and it played a role in the Warriors edging District 88 rival Addison Trail 119.90 to 119.55 for a West Suburban Conference Gold Division dual victory.
"What’s a tenth or two? The difference of a toe point. It’s great, winning by something as small as that," Dybisz said. "Last year we lost by a few tenths so this year to beat them by a few tenths, it’s just great."
Willowbrook led 60.20 to 58.65 after vault and the uneven parallel bars and hung on with a strong floor set (32.00) despite being outscored 30.00 to 27.70 on balance beam.
Willowbrook coach Ryan Dengel and Addison Trail coach Mike Galfi not only are good friends. They also are this year's president and vice president, respectively, for the Illinois High School Boys Gymnastics Coaches Association.
"Mike and I knew that it would be close the second he walked in the door. I think the only thing that got us (the victory) is we’re very consistent. We have a lot of girls that are kind of at the same level," Dengel said.
"Angie Dybisz, who last kind of went back and forth between the (junior varsity) and the varsity, had her best meet. She was on fire. Everything she hit was just awesome to see, and she was all smiles. The first half it was ours. The second half was Addison Trail’s. The first two events, vault and bars, maybe not scorewise, were the best that we’ve ever had. Five up, five hits on both events."
This was Willowbrook's only regular-season home meet because of the usual issues of moving all of the equipment from their upstairs practice gym to the main gym floor. The Warriors will be at home once more when they play host to the Gold Meet Jan. 29.
Willowbrook junior and team captain Liz Nocek won vault (9.0) with the only 9 in the dual, and was part of a three-way tie for first on floor with Sarah Mucerino and Addison Trail's Melissa Zygowicz (8.2).
Nocek also was second on beam (7.5). Mucerino also was second on vault (8.6) and third on uneven bars (7.15), and junior Tabitha Ratay was third on beam (7.2).
"I usually get 8.7, 8.8 (on vault. The 9.0) was shocking," Nocek said. "I did a new floor routine so I was kind of confused a little, but beam went well and bars is bars. I added in some new skills."
Dybisz, the team's first competitor on all four events (27.20 all-around), was part of last year's regional lineup on uneven bars. Her 5.4 on uneven bars and 6.5 on beam Thursday counted toward the team score. Without those scores, Willowbrook would have scored 0.75 less and lost.
"I think just the fact that it was Senior Night, I did really well today. Very emotional. It inspired me a lot," Dybisz said.
"Especially bars, my best routine ever tonight I think. I was glad that I landed my back on floor. Beam was not bad. A stick would have been better, but that’s OK. Vault, I’m going over slowly but it’s good overall. Just my teammates being there supporting me as always (helped). Without them, who knows where I’d be."
Dybisz gladly shared the pre-meet spotlight. That's because Dengel surprised longtime assistant coach Joe Scahill, who is retiring after this 33rd season, with family, friends, former coaches, the principal and superintendent in attendance.
Scahill, previously the assistant to longtime head coach Beth Gray, also has coached in boys gymnastics, baseball and boys golf, where he was the head coach this past fall.
"It was nice to see Joe cry. We got him," Dengel said with a big smile. "He’s just a great, great guy and asks for so little so we wanted to do something nice for him this year. He’s an awesome coach. He’s a mentor for me."
"He’s done so much for this team and all of the girls here and all of the previous girls. To have a coach as Coach Scahill coaching for (the previous) 32 years, that’s just outstanding," Dybisz said.
The Warriors graduated standout Josie Haxton but return almost all of their remaining postseason lineup in Dybisz, Nocek, Mucerino, Ratay, junior Tori Henderson and sophomore Christy Brzoska, who probably will miss the season with a stress fracture in her back.
Still, Nocek recalled how the team had just six gymnasts willing to do vault among its levels against Downers Grove North. This time, they had 10.
"It's so much more team bonded now than at the beginning of the year," Nocek said. "There’s a lot of new girls, but they’ve been working hard every day and actually improved so much, and I’m excited to see where they’re going to go in the future."