When Deerfield High School three-sport athlete Christine Stitcher competes in the State Meet today in Palatine coached by Coach Carol Myers, it will be a farewell performance for both.
. For Myers, coaching Stitcher will conclude a 34-year run as a coach and teacher at Deerfield High School.
“Knowing it’s the end of my (gymnastics) career has been really emotional,” Stitcher said. She began at 6. “It’s been a big part of my life. Now that it’s over it’s really emotional.” Though she will dive in college, that sport and pole vaulting are relatively new for her.
The feelings of transition to a different part of the sports world are mutual for both athlete and coach. That was evidenced when Stitcher’s performance at the Sectional earned her a trip to the State Meet for the third straight time.
“This year was special for me because it is Myers’ last year,” Stitcher said. “When I qualified she said ‘I felt the same way because I wasn’t ready for it to be over.’ I want to end my career on a good note.”
Stitcher will compete in the all around competition, vault and uneven parallel bars at 5 p.m. today. Should she be among the top 10 in the bars or vault, she will perform at 5:45 p.m. Saturday for a medal. The all around event concludes Friday.
A year ago, Stitcher’s goal was to qualify for three state meets in diving, gymnastics and track, which she did. As a senior she wants to earn a medal. She and Myers have developed a strategy to optimize that probability.
Increasing the difficulty of her bar routine, Stitcher hopes to add enough to her 9.25 Sectional score to reach Saturday’s finals and ascend the victory podium.
“We’ve been working on a blindful,” Stitcher said of an athletic move on the apparatus that will add to her score. “We took out for Sectional. If I hit it I have a chance to go do finals”
The emotions are there for Myers as well. She will continue with the sport as a gymnastics judge next year. “It’s bittersweet,” she said. “It’s been special to be her for 34 years and spend the last four coaching Christine (Stitcher). I know I’ll miss it.”
replaced Myers as the Lake Forest High School coach when the Myers took the helm at Deerfield over 30 years ago.
“The first time Lake Forest came here I was coaching my new team and she was coaching my old team,” Myers said. They have been close friends over the years. “I’m trying to talk her into judging.” Straus is waiting to make post coaching decisions.