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Article updated: 11/28/2012 11:14 PM

Hard work pays off for Wheaton co-op's Channon

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By Chris Walker

It's never a sure thing if a gymnast will dedicate herself during the off-season.

There was never any doubt with Wheaton Warrenville co-op's Audrey Channon.

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The junior edged Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley co-op senior Jess Malon, 36.35 to 36.25 to win all-around honors in Wedneday's nonconference match to help the hosts win its season opener, 131.55 to 130.5.

"I went to my old club in the off-season and didn't really stop working after the season ended," Channon said. "I worked on beam and bars a lot, did a few private lessons and bars was really my focus."

Channon has added some bonuses to her bars routine, including a blind change and a full dismount and is now starting at a 9.8. She scored a meet-best 9.2 and also added a top score of 8.8 on vault.

"She's really stepped up as a leader and captain and put in the time to do so," Wheaton Warrenville coach Maureen Latimer said. "She worked so hard in the off-season, so it's good to see her get off to such a nice start."

Other notable scores of the winners included Lenna Klein's 8.6 on vault and 8.2 on beam, Brianna Mulhearn's 8.7 on floor and 8.1 on beam, Brooke Stewart's 8.8 on floor, as well as a 7.2 on bars from Jordan Lane.

"It was nice to see Jordan pull out a clean routine," Latimer said. "You'll see a lot more from Lenna, but she's still rusty, but coming along."

Wheaton Warrenville was without newcomer Julie Galo, who could be the team's second-best all-arounder, while Sarah Bradley, who has proven to be an outstanding all-arounder as well, competed on bars and beam, but is slowly getting up to speed after a fantastic diving season.

Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley's Jess Malon won beam with a 9.35 and floor exercise with a 9.4 to lead her team.

"It's just the beginning of the season, so I still have a lot of work to do," she said. "I put in some new skills working out over the summer and felt pretty good after injuries to my ankle and knee."

Marianna Georgio added an 8.35 on vault and 7.9 on bars for the Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley, while Alaina Kapla had an 8.55 on floor and Michaela Valatkas contributed an 8.35 on beam. The team competed without Alexa Puccio, but she should return to action shortly.

"That was the most clean routine I've seen Marianna do," Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley coach Nicole Daly said. "We scored two points higher than our first meet so we're progressing. We're working on vault and our bars will improve and we'll see where we go from here."

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