Schaumburg makes history
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Schaumburg's girls gymnastics team has been aiming all season for a spot at the IHSA state meet.
The Saxons hit a bull's eye on night at the Niles North sectional.
Senior Brooke Shimon (37.60) and junior Ashley Miller (37.225) went 1-3 in the all-around to power Schaumburg to its first sectional title with school-record 147.40 in Skokie.
Prospect (141.925) took second, followed by New Trier (140.850), host Niles North (137.725), Conant (134.575), and Maine South (130.25).
The Saxons will be making their first state appearance and join automatic qualifiers Carmel, Hinsdale Central, and Glenbard West at the state meet on Feb. 18 at Palatine High School.
At-large teams include Stevenson, Lake Forest, Fremd, and Prairie Ridge. All four at-large teams advanced from the Stevenson sectional.
"Can you believe it," said Schaumburg coach Jami Stilling of its first state appearance. "All last week was team orientated at practice and it really built that bond."
Shimon has had her share of setbacks in her four-year career, including two elbow surgeries, but the senior hit in dramatic fashion on Thursday.
Shimon took first on the beam (9.55) and bars (9.375) to spur the Saxons charge.
"We knew coming into the year, this was our chance," said Shimon of the Saxons, who also won their first Mid-Suburban League title this year and broke three school records for season scores. "We weren't going to let anyone take it away from us."
Miller hyperextended her right knee in last week's regional and did not practice all week.
But the junior did not miss a beat on Thursday, taking second on the beam (9.35), third on the vault (9.5), fourth on the bars (9.075) and tying for fifth on the floor (9.3).
"There was a lot of pressure," added Miller of the Saxons drive. "We knew we had one chance and we had to hit — that's what we did."
Sophomore Erin Barrett took fourth on the beam (9.225) and senior Caitlin Barrett added a fifth place on the bars (9.05) to aid the Saxons.
St. Edward sophomore Abby Madden took second in the all-around (37.225).
Madden took second on the vault (9.55), third on the bars (9.1), fourth on the floor (9.375), and fifth on the beam (9.2) in a solid performance.
"The vault got me off to a good start," said Abby Madden, who will be making her second straight trip to state. "I'm definitely more confident in my skill this year and I'm feeling much more comfortable."
Jordyn Madden also came through for St. Edward, tying for fourth on the beam (9.475). It will mark the third straight trip to the state meet for the junior, who took eighth on the beam in her freshman year.
"It was a big mark," said Jordyn, who hit a Tsuk layout. "I've been working hard on adding difficulty and my scores have been going up."
Prospect freshman Gianna Scala continued to impress by taking first on the floor (9.625), adding a third on the beam (9.3), and tying for fifth in the all-around (36.775).
"The floor gave me a lot of confidence," said Scala of her opening performance. "As a team we knew we needed to be at our best, but we had a few falls."
Junior Lauren Johnson also qualified for the Knights by taking second on the bars (9.175).
Freshman Brie Bibel tied for fifth in the all-around (36.775) and also tied for fourth on the vault (9.475) to lead Conant.
"It's my best meet," said Bibel, who recovered from two falls at the regional. "I just put in a lot of hard work and stayed focused in what I was doing. I didn't let the falls at regional stop me."
Freshman Amelia Rafferty took second on the floor (9.6) to power Elk Grove.
"I really worked it," said Rafferty of her floor routine. "Once the music starts I went with my adrenaline."
Senior Citlali Cuevas took fourth in the all-around (36.875), first on the vault (9.65), and third on the floor (9.4) to lead host Niles North.
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