The pieces are falling into place for a deep Fremd girls gymnastics team, and the Vikings' score continued to climb on Saturday at the Mari Rae Sopper Invitational.
Fremd coach Elise Ference continued to mix and match her lineup, and the host Vikings responded by taking second place with 147.80 points in the 10-team field at Palatine.
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"The energy was great -- you could feel the momentum from the first vault," said Ference, whose team recorded its second best mark of the season and is on track to be a serious state trophy contender in February. "Now we just have to focus on the minor details and hit it."
Sophomore Kelsy Kurfirst swept all four events in taking first in the all-around (38.35) and leading Lyons to the title with an impressive 148.525.
Kurfirst started the day by taking first on floor (9.65), continued her momentum with firsts on vault (9.75) and bars (9.6), and ended her day by claiming the title on the beam (9.35).
"I'm much more confident this year," said Kurfirst. "Last year I didn't really know what to expect. This year I'm handling the nerves better. We're looking to make this year the best we can and have no regrets."
Lyons is on the short list for state title contenders, and it showed Saturday as junior Michelle Cozza (36.7) and junior Katie Carling (36.1) finished second and fourth in the all-around.
Carling had fourth-place finishes on vault (9.5) and bars (9.45), while Cozza added a third on bars (9.475).
St. Charles Co-op took third with 142.425 points, followed by Palatine (137.0) and Oswego Co-op (135.65).
Sophomore Chrissy Radochonski gave Fremd a lift by taking second on the vault (9.7), third on the beam (9.2), and tying for fourth on the floor (9.5).
"We're very close and very excited," said Radochonski of Fremd's end-of-season potential. "We're just hoping to peak at the right time. We have so much depth and someone is always stepping up."
Junior Christine Jensen did her part by taking fifth in the all-around (36.025). The junior stumbled on her vault landing, but she closed the night with by nailing her floor routine and taking second place (9.6).
"We haven't hit our peak yet, but we're getting close," said Jensen. "I just wanted to pull together the last event for the team."
Other key Fremd contributions came from freshman Carly DeFlippo, who took third on the vault (9.65); senior Emily Pinderski (9.5) and sophomore Emily Neal (9.4), second and fifth on bars; and sophomore Sydney Plichta (9.225) and freshman Lisa Radochonski (9.1), second and fifth on beam.
"Our team is very talented from top to bottom," said Neal. "We're just going to continue to keep working hard and do the best we can."
Freshman Rachel Dugan took third in the all-around (36.65) in leading St. Charles Co-op. She took fourth on beam (9.15) and fifth on vault (9.4) to pace a St. Charles team that had hit 146.8 Wednesday night.
Jesi Ortiz (9.55) and Kelly Gorniak (9.5) gave St. Charles a lift by taking third and tying for fourth on the floor.
"We were looking for a higher score today, but we knew our performance wasn't 100 percent," said Dugan of the improving St. Charles attack. "We're looking to make it to state, and we just have to keep working hard."
Senior Abby Alden took sixth in the all-around (35.70) to anchor Palatine, which was missing senior Nicole Kuksuk, out with a separated shoulder.
Alden hit on vault (9.15), bars (9.0), beam (8.75), and floor (8.8).
"I think finally after all the hard work and years, everything is falling into place," said Alden. "I'm proud of how everybody stepped up on the team today."
Including sophomore Andrea Ori, who gave the Pirates a boost on vault (9.1), beam (8.725) and floor (8.5).
Prospect is eyeing a berth to the state meet, and the Knights took another toward that goal Saturday.
Junior Gianna Scala took first in the all-around (37.70) to lead host Prospect to the title at the six-team Knights Invite with a season-best score of 142.85.
"Today was a measuring point," said Prospect coach Randy Smith, "and I think we're headed in the right direction."
Schaumburg took second with 137.75 points, followed by Buffalo Grove (132.135), Elk Grove (131.95), Rolling Meadows (130.75), and Wheeling (123.71).
Scala took first on beam (9.7) and vault (9.5) and had second-place efforts on floor (9.45) and bars (9.05).
"We really wanted to go big tonight, especially in front of the home crowd," said Scala. "We know we want to peak, but we're looking for that right time. I think we have a lot more to offer."
Prospect sophomore Maddie Larock took third on floor (9.4) and fourth on vault (9.2) and bars (8.8). Junior Jackie DiFonzo was fourth on beam (9.0) and floor (9.2). Sophomore Maddie Boldt added a fifth-place finish for the Knights on bars (8.75).
"We're getting closer and closer to where we want to be," said Larock, who tied for third in the all-around (35.90). "Everyone is contributing and we are putting it together."
Freshman Cati Poland took tied for third in the all-around (35.90) to pace Schaumburg. She was third on the bars (9.0) and beam (9.1).
"The team has really helped build my confidence," said Poland.
Alyssa Kizska took fifth on beam (8.8), and Tarah Schomer was fifth on floor (9.0) and sixth on beam (8.7) for the Saxons.
"Every day the team is working harder and they are pushing each other," said Schaumburg coach Jami Stilling, who is still filling some lineup holes on her team due to injuries. "We're looking to get healthy, and I thought we competed well tonight."
Elk Grove junior Amelia Rafferty continued her strong season by taking second in the all-around (37.50). She won floor (9.5) and bars (9.25) and took second on vault (9.35) and beam (9.4).
"I'm really happy that I hit all the events," said Rafferty of her performance. "I've been working hard in practice and it's starting to show."
Diandra Duenser took sixth on the bars (8.325) and seventh on the beam (8.65), with Jordan Mann adding a sixth-place finish on the floor (8.975) in pacing Buffalo Grove.
Rachel Anderson (9.25) and Olivia Maciejewska (9.15) took third and fifth on the vault for Rolling Meadows.