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updated: 12/17/2011 10:23 PM

Familiar faces fare best at Illinois Best Invitational

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By Bill Stone
Daily Herald Correspondent

Not much changed when first-place medals were handed out at Saturday's 26th annual Illinois Best Invitational at Wheaton Warrenville South.

Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley co-op senior Maddie Strick on the uneven parallel bars), St. Edward junior Abby Madden in the all-around and senior Jordyn Madden on vault won their events for the second year in a row at the 10-team invite that allows just one all-arounder and four gymnasts on one event each. Waubonsie/Metea co-op's Nina Brandenburg won floor exercise.

"I kind of got excited for this meet. Last night I was kind of pumped," Abby Madden said. "I kind of liked coming into it because of how well we did last year. Hopefully we'd do the same."

For the second year in a row, Geneva also finished second as a team. Trying to win the invite for the first time, the Vikings (68.90) were edged by .2 points.

Oswego co-op (69.10) won the meet for the first time since 2006. Waubonsie/Metea co-op (68.05), Wheaton Warrenville co-op (66.925), St. Charles co-op (66.425) and Batavia (64.125) were third through sixth.

"Especially by .2, it's a bummer, but we're coming back," Geneva junior Kaitlyn Kanarowski said. "We have our little wobbles here and there that we need to clean to get that .2 back."

At the invite only specialists are eligible for event awards. Jordyn Madden dominated the all-around and had the top event scores on everything but floor. Geneva's Ashley Puff was second.

Madden scored 9.475 on vault, 9.425 on beam and 9.125 on uneven bars.

"It's kind of weird. I've had three meets so far and I've been pretty consistent with all of them -- the same scores all around," Madden said.

On Waubonsie/Metea co-op's first event Strick scored an 8.85 to win uneven bars by .375.

"It's really nice for it to my last year and to win bars again. It's really nice to go out with a title, go out with a bang," Strick said.

As the 17th of 19 competitors on floor, Brandenburg prevailed with an invite-best 9.375. She was second at the invite last year with an 8.8.

"It's nice to come back and win," Brandenburg said. "It was a reallylong wait (to compete). I had to make sure I stayed warm and kept my muscles stretched, flexible."

Jordyn Madden eventually chose vault over beam as her one event and had a winning 9.425 on a tuck Yurchenko, topping her 9.35 from 2010.

"I knew I was already in the book (as a vault champion) so I thought that was cool, but I also wanted to maybe do beam so then it would be a different event. But I was fine with vault," Jordyn Madden said.

Event runners-up included St. Charles co-op's Jesi Ortiz, who notched a personal-best 9.25 on floor, and Wheaton Warrenville co-op's Sarah Bradley's 9.05 on vault, and Claire Dresselhaus, who scored an 8.5 on beam, 0.2 behind Oswego co-op's Kathryn Maher.

Waubonsie/Metea co-op's Jessica Malon and Wheaton Warrenville co-op's Emily Cook were fourth and fifth in all-around.

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