All-around excellence from Carmel's Feely
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In the previous couple of years, Lauren Feely was a big part of team state championships for Carmel Catholic's girls gymnastics team.
This year, the spotlight was focused on Feely. And she certainly made the most of it on Friday in the state meet preliminaries at Palatine.
With several teammates in the stands, along with the support of Carmel competitors Sarah Cohen-Smith and Kari Osowski, Feely dazzled. She became the first gymnast from Carmel to win the all-around in the state finals, winning with 38.7.
"I just can't believe it -- it's so unbelievable," Feely said. "I'm so happy after three years, with all that hard work that all came together. I was definitely disappointed about the team (not advancing to state) last week. They always had my back. I had the rest of the team supporting me up there (in the stands) like they were here."
Feely finished ahead of Rachel Underwood of Prairie Ridge and Lyons' Kelsey Kurfirst, who tied for second at 38.55.
Feely started with a 9.375 on the uneven bars, then stuck on the balance beam with a 9.725. She hit again on floor exercise with a 9.7 and landed her Yurchenko full for an outstanding vault of 9.9.
"Once I stuck beam I knew that I could depend on the rest," Feely said. "I had a good feeling on floor and didn't want anything to go wrong.
"I'm so happy to go 4-for-4 and I've never done that at state before. It's so amazing, because no one at Carmel has done that before. It all came together on this night."
Cohen-Smith, who won the vault last year, qualified to finals with the second-best score of 9.825. She'll have a chance to repeat in the finals, which start at 5:45 p.m. Saturday.
"It was amazing to go back out there and have everyone support me," said Cohen-Smith, who did a Yuchenko layout. "I'm really focusing on form this time and want everything to count. I just want to stick that landing."
Alli Tran of Vernon Hills also qualified for finals on vault with her Yurchenko layout, posting a 9.675. Tran finished eighth in the all-around, tied with Kylie Carlson of Lake Forest (37.275).
"The vault scores were real tough out there with the competition," Tran said. "I still thought I could've done better on how my warm-ups went. I just want to do better (in finals)."
Stevenson will be represented in the finals by sophomore Alyssa Weisberg and Riley Trebilco; both qualified for the beam finals.
Weisberg hit her routine with the third-best score of 9.5. She'll be making her first finals appearance.
"I'm nervous about it," Weisberg said. "I'm just going to go out there and know that I'll do the best I can do. It's a different atmosphere out there. I've always been taught the team comes first."
Trebilco finished fourth as a sophomore on beam and will be in the finals again as a senior. She qualified with a score of 9.3.
"I'm glad to get a good routine in," Trebilco said. "I just treated it like my last routine ever in my gymnastics career. When I landed it, I just cried."
Prairie Ridge leads the team competition with 149.3, with Lyons close second at 149.05 and Fremd third at 146.
Lake Forest is in sixth place with 143.675. The Scouts' Katherine McKeon reached the finals on the bars (9.375) and Carlson advanced on floor (9.65).
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