Glenbard West gymnastics star keeps rolling
Maddie Diab has always been a quick learner, which might explain why someone who is only a sophomore is racking up trophies at gymnastics contests across the state.
After her recent run in Palatine, where she mesmerized everyone with her off-the-charts brilliance, the Glenbard West star now has four state titles and at least two other top three trophies to her credit.
“She’s came in and took everything by storm,” Hilltoppers’ coach Carlos Fuentes told the DuPage Policy Journal. “She’s long been competing and winning on the club scene, but there are some subtle differences in the way things are done on the high school level. She’s come in and mastered those almost as well as she does one of her routines.”
Diab’s love of the sport goes all the way back to watching her older brothers compete at the state level and in club competitions. That's when she first envisioned doing all the things she’s doing now that have made her such a force to be reckoned with.
“She’s a one-of-a-kind athlete that you just have to marvel at,” Fuentes, who’s been coaching for more than two decades, said. “I have had a number of athletes make it to state finals and place top five, but with her it’s totally unique. She’s the total package. Her athleticism and fortitude make that so."
Diab’s lineage also helps. Her parents have a gymnastics background and now own a gymnastics school in nearby Downers Grove.
“Gymnastics has been her life for as long as she can remember,” Fuentes said. “She’s only touching the surface of what she can be and how far she can go with this.”
As dominant as Diab was in Palatine last month, Fuentes says she’s capable of more. Diab was limited throughout the competition by a back injury, but Fuentes said she has the fortitude to keep something like that from holding her back.
As a freshman, Diab was named rookie of the year by the Illinois High School Girls Gymnastics Coaches Association and Fuentes walked away with coach of the year honors.
“We’ve come into each other’s life at a good point,” Fuentes said.
He said even though she is a budding start, Diab's talent doesn't worry him about not providing the mentoring and coaching she needs.
“At this point in my career, more than 20 years in, I’m not overwhelmed by it,” he said. “We just talk about the other things she wants to accomplishing, what’s she’s capable of accomplishing, and go from there in setting out to accomplish them.”
Chief on Diab’s list of things to do is adding a floor exercise trophy to her collection.
“She wants that now more than anything," Fuentes said. "I knew she was special from the moment I saw her, and I’ve learned anything that she wants she is more than willing to put in the work to earn.”
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