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posted: 12/19/2010 1:00 AM

Freshman Penny leads Valleys to Best win

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By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley co-op freshman Jordyn Penny found out early in the week that she would be the team's all-arounder in Saturday's Illinois Best girls gymnastics invitational at Wheaton Warrenville South.

Making the most of the opportunity, Penny finished second in the all-around with a 35.4 to help Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley win the Illinois Best for the first time in school history.

"I'm just happy to be able to contribute because everyone is so nice and it's been a lot of fun," she said. "I thought I did pretty good on bars and beam and the others (floor and vault) were just OK."

Geneva took second place with a 67.850, followed by host Wheaton Warrenville South co-op's 66.975, Oswego's 66.650 and St. Charles co-op's 65.375.

In addition to Penny, three of the other gymnasts for the winners certainly made the most of their one opportunity. Maddie Strick won the parallel bars with an 8.825, Elizabeth Brandenburg took second in the floor exercise with an 8.8 and Maria Pizzo was third on beam with an 8.125.

"They all stepped up big today," Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley coach Nicole Daly said. "We're real excited to come in here with tough competition and to see where we stand compared to those schools. And this was only the second time we've had the complete team competing, so this is very exciting."

St. Edward's Abby Madden cruised to the all-around title. Madden posted the top score in all four events en route to her 37.3 all-around total.

"I was really nervous coming into it because I remember last year not doing so well," Madden said about her fifth-place finish of 35.625 last December.

"Today I was very happy with what I accomplished. I think the first couple meets were more like practice and now I'm more into trying bigger skills and getting better scores and stuff."

Ashley Puff took third place in the all-around with a 34.025 and Emily Ott won the beam to lead Geneva.

Wheaton Warrenville South co-op rebounded from an eighth-place effort in the Conant Invite last weekend to take third. Sarah Deicke won the floor exercise with an 8.8, and Kristina Terry was second on beam with an 8.525.

"We finished at the bottom of the heap and it was difficult to swallow for the competitors and the coaches," Wheaton Warrenville South co-op coach Maureen Latimer said. "They came in with a fire under their butts on Monday and were pulling out skills from the past and were ready to compete again."

St. Charles co-op received third-place finishes from Kristin Sheehan and A.J. Francioni on vault and floor exercise, respectively.

"I thought my girls did a good job for being able to only have two girls per event where falls really count more than they usually would," St. Charles co-op coach Amy Lill said. "I was happy with their performance today."

Ashley Ellis had a 32.275 in the all-around to help Glenbard South take sixth place with a 63.750. Bonnie DeBatty placed fifth on bars with a 7.850 to pace Glenbard East.

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