The balance beam can throw a gymnastics team into disarray, but a strong team can also dominate it and use a big score to its advantage.
Glenbard West took its latest step toward a potential state berth by posting an 37.025 on beam during Saturday's York Invite and cruising past runner-up Lake Park, 144.075-137.775
Amber Broucek led the Hilltoppers on beam, winning the event with a 9.625. She had plenty of company on the award stand afterward from her teammates too. Mackenzie O'Keefe was second with a 9.5, while Sarah DeStefano and Abbie Garchitorena tied for sixth place.
"What a difference a couple of weeks make," Hilltoppers coach Carlos Fuentes said. "We had five or six falls from that same lineup at Naperville North (Jan. 5) and they learned from their mistakes and have attacked the beam since then."
O'Keefe won vault with a 9.475, bars with a 9.45 and floor with a 9.175 and snagged the all-around title with a 37.6. After winning her first all-around title in the Oswego Invite days after Christmas, O'Keefe has accomplished the same feat every time she's competed since then.
Meanwhile, Broucek reached a 37 for the first time to take second place in the all-around. Third-place efforts on bars and floor proved to be substantial
"I never realized or thought about it," Broucek said in regards to reaching a 37. "I just wanted to do whatever I could to help the team and today I was just totally focused on beam. I tend to get shaky sometimes, but today I wasn't."
Annalise Donati paced Lake Park, placing seventh in the all-around to help the Lancers earn second place.
"It was a phenomenal meet for us," Lake Park coach Jake Luketin said. "Anytime you hit 5-for-5 on beam is very good. That's where we made our money tonight."
Senior Kaitlyn Daly continued her success after Senior Night on Thursday and took third in the all-around with a 35.8 to help Naperville North score a 132.125. The Huskies were successful on beam as well and took seventh place.
"It was a pretty solid meet even without Michaela (Robert) away," Huskies coach Chris Stanicek said. "We're just trying to stay focused and get ready for conference."
Neuqua Valley took eighth with a 128.7. Isis Ruff led the team with a 33.6 in the all-around. Sara Cushing had a rough day on beam and settled for a 32.85 in the all-around.
"This doesn't mean as much as conference, and even there we're just looking to get ready for our regional," Wildcats coach Jo Ann Pschigoda said. "We'll look to see what we can do next week."