Gymnastics: Kaneland's Yost, who aspires to be a pediatric oncologist, first has his sights set on return to state finals

These days, senior Ethan Yost continues to make history at Kaneland as a gymnast. Some day he will make sure the needs of his patients and their families are met as a pediatric oncologist.

Yost will compete in Friday's Downers Grove North Sectional, the final boys gymnastics sectional in the state, with hopes of qualifying for the state finals May 12-13 at Hoffman Estates.

While he's only training a couple of days a week at Excel Gymnastics Academy, Yost has a chance of finishing among the state's most elite, especially in the floor exercise. He finished sixth in the state as a sophomore with a 9.3 and tied for seventh last year with a 9.25.

Last year Yost qualified for state in every event except for still rings and the all-around.

"Going into the postseason, the main goal that I'm setting for myself is just to have a good time and soak it all in, especially when it comes to processing the fact that this will be my last time competing after my 10-year-long gymnastics career," Yost said. "However, I'd be lying if I said I didn't have goals in terms of performance and placement. Working my way up to Top 5 (on floor) would be an honor. Also, I would love to be able to qualify for state in the all-around this year."

Yost has committed to competing at Kaneland as an individual competitor despite the Knights not having a team.

"Kaneland has a long history of success in several different areas, but never have they had a male gymnast represent them in competition," he said. "By competing in the state finals under Kaneland's name, in a way, I hope that I'm helping make history at the school and possibly even help create a path for any other future students looking to pursue a sport individually."

Yost will be blessed to find world-class academics, life-changing research and more at Saint Louis University in the fall, but he won't find pommel horses or still rings. But that's ok, too.

"Saint Louis University does not have a gymnastics program, so this will likely be my last season," he said. "Looking forward, I plan on staying connected to the sport through coaching and social media, where I connect with gymnasts from all over the world. There is a chance that in college I may be able to collaborate with Washington University in St. Louis and join their club team just for fun, but that's something that I will figure out in the future."

Yost plans on studying medical sciences in the SLU's Medical Scholars Program. He plans on minoring in Spanish with hopes of ultimately studying abroad at their campus in Madrid, Spain.

"With my degree in medical sciences, my ultimate goal is to attend medical school and become a pediatric oncologist," he said. "Because of my minor in Spanish and interest in exploring new cultures, I have also put some thought into joining Doctors Without Borders or a similar program for a few years after medical school if the opportunity arises."

Wherever he lands, just like he does so gracefully in his floor routine, Yost is going to make an impact. He wants to help kids because he's already seen how much of an impact he can make as a gymnastics coach himself.

"I chose pediatric oncology because I love working with kids, which I've realized through my coaching experience," Yost said. "I also have many family members that have been affected by cancer, so the thought of being able to treat them and work toward a cure sounds extremely rewarding. I have several family members who work in the medical field, which has also drawn me toward medicine."

Whatever arises while at Saint Louis University, Yost finds comfort in knowing that his twin sister, Lindsay will be nearby. She'll be getting a doctorate of physical therapy in Saint Louis University's freshman-entry program. Just a couple of years ago she was the one who persuaded him into competing in Mr. Kaneland, which he was crowned in 2022.

"We are extremely similar which is something I really value given the fact that many twins can't say that about themselves," he said. "We are each other's best friends, and it's been this way all through our childhood - we have the same friends, similar interests and similar hobbies."

They actively pursued a variety of schools to be more independent of each other, but nothing could top Saint Louis University.

"Going into college, we actually were actively trying to go to different places and be more independent, but now we have both committed to Saint Louis University because it is the best school for both of us," he said. "And we couldn't be more excited."

Soon high school gymnastics will be over, weeks later diplomas will be awarded and high school will begin fading like memories do.

"We'll be sad to leave our parents and our little brother, Jacob, who is currently in eighth grade, but it also makes it that much better knowing that we will be able to come home at the same times to visit our parents and brother that we love so much," he said. "I'm beyond lucky to have Lindsay as my twin sister, and I have to remind myself every day not to take our bond for granted because it is truly so special."

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