Naperville North senior Kaitlyn Daly was not going to miss a single moment of Thursday's DuPage Valley Conference meet against Naperville Central.
While her combined time on vault, bars, beam and floor wouldn't last more than 10 minutes, she filled in the remaining two hours by loudly cheering on her teammates and offering guidance, as well as by sending well wishes to the rival Redhawks.
It was simply a case of an intelligent athlete recognizing that the end of her high school gymnastics days is near and now was the time to make the most of it.
Daly likely won't forget her final home meet. She won the all-around with a 36.4 to lead the Huskies to a 135-133.5 victory.
"Tonight was so special because it was Senior Night against cross-town Central," Daly said. "This was one of those meets where it wasn't about the scores, or if you hit or fell, but about being with your teammates and having fun. Having such a vibrant team and talking and cheering for them, that's why I love the sport."
Daly also had to love her effort. She started particularly strong by winning vault and bars in the first half of the meet. She tied for first on beam and place second on floor to finish her night.
"To hit 4 for 4 in my final home meet was definitely a good feeling," she said. "It's sad it's coming to an end, but it's a lot more sweet than it's bitter."
Fellow senior Carleigh Turner also finished with a flourish as she contributed key scores on bars and vault.
"This is my 13th year doing gymnastics, so I know the end is near," Turner said. "Four years ago I helped put up posters for the seniors for the first time, and now I have my own poster up there. It was emotional tonight, but I couldn't be more proud of my team either."
Stephanie Mueller won floor with a 9 for the Huskies, who were without sophomore standout Michaela Robert, who is on a Honduras Missions trip.
Naperville Central didn't have a poor meet per se, but several mistakes, particularly in the floor exercise, hurt.
"I'm glad we have some time off before next Friday (DVC meet) because the girls with ankle twists and stuff could use some rest," Redhawks coach Glen Reimers said. "But it was a good meet. We had some goofups that kept it from being closer."
Danielle Breeden, Vanessa Henry, Claire Savard and Lea Savard all contributed all-around tallies between 33.150 and 33.650 and Claire Savard had the team's top total. Breeden tied Daly for top honors on beam with a 9.
"It was a great meet and really didn't matter who won," Breeden said. "We love competing against them so seeing them at conference again next week will be very nice. Hopefully, we can put all our events together by then."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.