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updated: 1/31/2013 11:17 PM

Conant's Starzynski, Prairie Ridge impress at regional

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  • Conant's Sarah Starzynski is happy with her performance on the uneven parallel bars at Thursday's Conant regional.

       Conant's Sarah Starzynski is happy with her performance on the uneven parallel bars at Thursday's Conant regional.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Sarah Starzynski has a solid performance on the uneven parallel bars at Thursday's Conant regional.

       Conant's Sarah Starzynski has a solid performance on the uneven parallel bars at Thursday's Conant regional.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Riley Mahoney of Prairie Ridge Co-op on the uneven parallel bars at Thursday's Conant regional.

       Riley Mahoney of Prairie Ridge Co-op on the uneven parallel bars at Thursday's Conant regional.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Sarah Zorrilla on the vault at Thursday's Conant regional.

       Conant's Sarah Zorrilla on the vault at Thursday's Conant regional.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • St. Edward's Abby Madden performs her uneven parallel bars routine at Thursday's Conant regional.

       St. Edward's Abby Madden performs her uneven parallel bars routine at Thursday's Conant regional.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.comSt. Edward's Abby Madden performs her vault routine at Thursday's Conant regional.

      Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.comSt. Edward's Abby Madden performs her vault routine at Thursday's Conant regional.

  • Conant's Meicie Bennett on the vault at Thursday's Conant regional.

       Conant's Meicie Bennett on the vault at Thursday's Conant regional.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Meicie Bennett on uneven parallel bars at Thursday's Conant regional.

       Conant's Meicie Bennett on uneven parallel bars at Thursday's Conant regional.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

Conant was looking for a lift at its own regional on Thursday night, and the Cougars got one from senior Sarah Starzynski.

Starzynski missed over a month due to a broken wrist, but the Cougar senior didn't miss much on Thursday.

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Limited to two events, Starzynski made the most of them, taking third on the beam (9.025) and tying for sixth on the bars (8.925) in leading the Cougars to a second-place finish with 139.0 points in Hoffman Estates.

Conant advanced to the Fremd sectional on Monday night at 6:30 p.m by securing the second at-large bid.

"She is such a great competitor and she was anxious to compete," said Conant coach Lorel Cunningham of her senior leader. "It was great to see her back up there again, and she definitely gave us a lift."

"I couldn't be more happy with our performance," said Starzynski. "I was nervous. It meant a lot to be able to compete again."

Sophomore Rachael Underwood (37.60) and sophomore Riley Mahoney (37.225) went 1-2 in the all-around in propelling Prairie Ridge co-op to the regional title with an impressive 147.175.

Maine South took third with 135.25 points, followed by Maine East (105.775).

Prairie Ridge joins Prospect, Fremd and Palatine as automatic qualifiers for the sectional, with Barrington also advancing with an at-large bid.

Underwood and Mahoney each had falls opening on the bars, but the two Cary-Grove students were flawless for the remainder of the night.

Underwood took first on floor (9.5), second on beam (9.4) and vault (9.675) and third on the bars in leading the Wolves' attack.

Mahoney took first on beam (9.425), third on vault (9.65), tied for third on floor (9.2) and fifth on bars (8.95) in giving Prairie Ridge a solid 1-2 punch.

"We didn't like the bars too much, but we got back up on the other events," said Underwood. "We wanted to pick it up after bars, and we did."

Prairie Ridge has hit the highest mark this season, recording a 150.0 at the Lake Forest Invite in early January, and the Wolves continued to impress on Thursday. Cary-Grove freshman Maddie Solka aided the attack by taking first on bars (9.325), Jada Berkland added a fifth-place finish on beam (8.925) and sophomore Dylann Perrone placed fifth on vault (9.35).

"We had some problems on bars and two major falls on beam," said Prairie Ridge coach Lee Battaglia, whose team finished third in state last season. "We had an off meet, but we'll be ready to go on Monday."

Conant was ready to go from the start, with freshman Sarah Zorrilla taking third on vault (9.5). Junior Rachel Tong added fourth-place finishes on bars (8.975) and beam (8.975), and junior Miecie Bennett tied for third on the floor (9.2).

"I think our fast start set the team in motion," said Zorrilla who provided the early punch with her vault. "I think the vault really pumped us up, and it was a good time to peak."

St. Edward senior Abby Madden competed as an individual and used a fast start in taking third in the all-around (36.975).

Madden started the night with a second-place finish on bars (9.225). The Green Wave senior then used a Yurchenko layout in taking first on the vault (9.7), adding a second-place finish on floor (9.325).

Madden is polishing off her state-worthy vault and seems primed for a big finish.

"I've been getting a 9.4 with my pike, but the layout has really brought up my score," said Madden who finished the night on the beam (8.725). "I just need to clean a few things up and I don't want to end the year with any regrets."

Senior Haleigh Sir led Maine South by tying for third on floor (9.2). She also added an impressive vault (9.2) and beam (8.9) in tying for fourth in the all-around (36.05).

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