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updated: 1/31/2013 11:14 PM

Despite injury, St. Charles rolls to regional title

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By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

St. Charles co-op took yet another step toward its first state appearance since 2008, winning Thursday's York regional in impressive fashion with 145.2 points.

York was a distant second with a 139.15 and followed by South Elgin/Streamwood/Bartlett co-op's 126.025 and Leyden's 114.775.

The winners were without one of its three all-rounders, as junior Sidney Copeland is now sidelined with an injury. While her loss is a big one, St. Charles also boasts incredible depth and it had seven gymnasts offer a contributing score in the victory.

Junior Kelly Gorniak and freshman Rachel Dugan finished 1-2 in the all-around with a 36.8 and 36.675 respectively to pace the regional champs.

"It was devastating to lose (Copeland) but we really pushed through it tonight and won it for her today," Gorniak said. "Our coaches have already told us that our biggest competition is ourselves and that's the key thing. So, we just focused on our landings and adding new skills and did it today."

Dugan edged Gorniak, 9.25 to 9.2, to win the beam title, while a pair of teammates earned top honors on a couple other events.

Senior p-bars specialist Andrea Schwartz made the most of her few minutes of action on Thursday, winning with a 9.05 while fellow senior Jesi Ortiz took home a title on floor with a 9.425 and tied for third on vault with a 9.375.

"The thing about this team is that it doesn't matter if you're an all-rounder or just doing one event, we all know it matters," said St. Charles junior Sierra Thiesse. "We cheer for everyone and work toward getting another tenth, because each one counts."

Thiesse took fifth on floor with an 8.8 and added an 8.6 on bars while sophomore Raquel Favia stepped up and added an 8.4 on beam. And, then there's junior Cathryn Gotlund whose 8.9 on beam and 9.175 on vault were nearly overshadowed by her teammates' dominance on the aforementioned events.

"It was just a very exciting time today for us," Dugan said. "I learned from my club coaches how to perform under pressure and we all did it today."

York senior Alyna Gagliardi drilled her Yurchenko pike to win vault with a 9.575. It was the first time she incorporated it into her routine and it highlighted her 34.725 finish in the all-around. Gagliardi also tied for second on bars with an 8.95 and was fourth on floor with a 9.2.

"I figured it's senior year so I might as well try to throw it with a higher start value," Gagliardi said about her vault. "I feel like I have more power in a bigger meet like regional so I just went our and did it."

Alyssa Konkel was the only gymnast from South Elgin/Streamwood/Barlett co-op to automatically qualify into next Tuesday's Glenbard West sectional. The junior did it with an all-around total of 33.825 as well as on vault, where she tied for third with a 9.375, which was also a season best.

"Usually I land on my back on vault because my ankles are very week but I stuck it today," Konkel said. "I was pretty excited with how the meet went."

York remains alive for an at-large team bid, although the Dukes already had a couple other gymnasts advance as individuals.

Meghan Davidson was fourth in the all-around with a 34.725 and also placed fifth on beam and bars, while Jenn Gentile was third on beam with an 8.95.

"I was happy with the performance. It was the first meet that not one girl fell on beam for us," York coach Steve Geuss said. "They did a nice job of pulling through and I can't wait to see what we can do at sectionals."

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