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Article updated: 1/25/2013 11:38 PM

Fast start fuels Fremd in MSL meet


Fremd wasted little time in setting the tone at the Mid-Suburban League girls gymnastics meet Friday. The Vikings threw a knockout punch in the first two events and didn't look back.

Fremd opened by scoring a 37.60 on vault and followed by hitting a 37.65 on bars. The 1-2 combo propelled Fremd to the MSL title with 148.275 points at Palatine.

Prospect took second with 143.675 points, followed by the host Pirates (143.075), Conant (141.25), Barrington (140.525), and Schaumburg (140.175).

"That's our style," said Fremd coach Elise Ference of the Vikings' opening salvo. "It gives us confidence, but at the same time we still know we have work to do."

Elk Grove junior Amelia Rafferty (38.125) also used a fast start in nipping Prospect junior Gianna Scala (38.0) for the all-around title.

Rafferty took first on bars (9.65) and vault (9.75), added a second on floor (9.5). She also had a strong showing on beam (9.225) in becoming the first Elk Grove gymnast to win an MSL all-around title.

"She had a great night," said Elk Grove coach Heather DeCook. "She has been confident all season, and it showed tonight."

Rafferty was a bit under the weather, but the Grenadiers junior showed no signs rolling through her first three events en route to her title.

"I've just been trying to get better and better at every meet and it came together tonight," said Rafferty. "I took it step by step in each event, and it worked. It's really exciting."

Fremd once again showed a versatile lineup, as the Viking went 10 deep. It started with freshman Carly DeFilippo (9.65), who took fourth on vault. The Vikes took it up a notch on bars, with four finishing in the top 10.

Sophomore Sydney Plichta (9.6) took second, with senior Mary Smaga (9.45) tying for fourth. Then came senior Emily Pinderski (9.35) and sophomore Emily Neal (9.25), who went 7-9.

"We wanted to start off with a lot of energy," said Pinderski, who added a fourth-place finish on floor (9.425). "We wanted to ride that through the meet and I think we did a good job."

Plichta kept the Vikings moving on the beam by taking first place with a 9.6, with freshman Mariah Gura adding a sixth-place finish (9.275).

DeFillipo added a ninth-place finish on floor (9.10) in helping Fremd sweep all four events.

"I think we really nailed it and it started on vault," said Plichta. "It was a total team effort, and we haven't reached our peak yet -- but we'll get there."

Prospect is also looking to make a move, but on this night the Knights were missing junior Jackie Difonzo, which slowed their attack. Scala and sophomore Maddie Larock (37.20) went 2-5 in the all-around to pace the Knights.

Scala won her third consecutive MSL floor title with a 9.6, and also took third on vault (9.7) and tied for fourth on bars (9.45). Larock took third on both bars (9.55) and floor (9.45) in giving Prospect its best mark of the season.

"I wanted to hit big on the floor," said Scala. "It was a good way to finish. We knew we had to pick it up for the team and we had good energy."

Palatine senior Abby Alden took sixth in the all-around (37.025) in pushing the Pirates to a season-best mark.

Alden took fifth on beam (9.3) and also was solid on the vault (9.325), bars (9.2), and floor (9.2).

"I've been coming on strong on the bars and it was nice to hit," said Alden. "The whole team has fought really hard to get where we are right now."

Senior Nicole Kuksuk came back from shoulder injury to take third on the beam (9.55) to give the Pirates an early lift.

Two new faces also made quite an impression, as Rolling Meadows freshman Kelly Johnston (37.575) and Barrington freshman Abby Hasanov (37.325) went 3-4 in the all-around.

Johnston ended her night by taking second on beam (9.575). She started the night by taking fifth on vault (9.55). The Mustangs frosh was also solid on bars (9.3) and floor (9.15).

"Coming into this meet I had a lot of confidence, and it started with my opening routine on the floor," said Johnston. "I have been hitting my routine in practice, and I brought to the competition."

Hasanov started the night by taking fifth on the floor (9.4). She followed it with a second-place finish on vault (9.725) and tied for fourth on bars (9.45).

"It was a good start and I was able to keep building," said Hasanov.

Senior Sarah Starzynski gave Conant an early lift by taking fourth on the beam (9.35), with junior Meicie Bennett adding a sixth-place finish for the Cougars on the floor (9.375).

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