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updated: 2/16/2013 12:28 AM

Geneva shines at state

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By Mike Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

Geneva made the most of its first state appearance.

The Vikings were the last team to qualify for the state meet, but head into Saturday finals at Palatine in fifth place with an impressive 145.225.

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Prairie Ridge Co-op will be going for its first state title and leads the 8-team field with 149.30, followed by Lyons Township (149.05) and Fremd (146.0)

New Trier is in fourth place (145.35), with Glenbard West (143.425) and St. Charles Co-op (141.675) in 7th and 8th place.

Saturday team finals and individual event finals will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Palatine High School.

Geneva scored a 142.275 in finishing third at the Glenbard West sectional, but the Vikings took a jump up in their performance at the state meet.

"It was outstanding," said Geneva coach Kim Hostman of the Vikings performance. "We've been trying to be consistent all year. Just getting here was a big accomplishment, and we worked really hard for this moment and the girls stepped up."

Including senior Ashley Puff who tied for ninth and will advance to the finals on the floor (9.375).

"It's incredible, just being here with my team," said Puff of her performance. "To make it on floor is just fantastic. To be able to end my gymnastic career in the finals is amazing."

Junior Dominique Brognia also had an impressive night ting for 11th on the floor (9.35) to aid the Vikings attack.

St. Charles Co-op advanced to its first state meet since 2008, and senior Jesi Ortiz gave her team a lift by taking seventh on the floor (9.425) advancing to Saturday's finals.

"Last year we couldn't even break a 140, but this year it has come together," said Ortiz of St. Charles progress. "We didn't have the best night on beam, but we brought it back up on the floor."

Junior Kelly Gorniak aided St. Charles floor performance tying for 11th place (9.35).

It was a transition year for Glenbard West, but the Hilltoppers didn't miss a beat qualifying for their third state meet in four years.

Sophomore Mackenzie O'Keefe led the way tying for third on the bars (9.525) and advancing to Saturdays finals. O'Keefe also finished 10th in the all-around (37.25)

"It was really fun today," said O'Keefe who battled injuries as a freshman. "I'm a little nervous for finals, but I'm really amped up for it."

Freshman Amber Broucek continued her strong showing on the beam by taking fourth place (9.475) and advancing to Saturday nights finals.

"I've been working really hard on beam and I was really focused tonight," said Broucek of her performance. "I'm so proud of our team, we worked so hard to get here."

"We lost five gymnast from last year, so this was a new team," said Glenbard West coach Carlos Fuentes, "It's exciting to be able to see them get here and they did well tonight."

Glenbard North senior Mariah Matesi took seventh on the beam (9.35) and will advance to Saturdays finals. The Panther senior rolled her ankle on the floor, but is looking to bounce back on the beam on Saturday.

"She's a fighter," said Glenbard North coach Alison Nelson of Matesi who took fourth place at state last season on the floor. "We are hoping for a big comeback on beam on Saturday."

York senior Alyna Gagliardi tied for ninth on the floor (9.375) and will advance to Saturday's finals for the Dukes.

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