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updated: 12/3/2013 10:55 PM

Fremd starts strong, edges Prospect

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By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

Fremd's girls gymnastic team knows a bit about setting the bar.

After all, the program has secured 20 state trophies, including a third-place trophy last year.

And the Vikings aren't looking to lower that bar this season.

Fremd got off to a solid start on Tuesday, defeating host Prospect 143.7-140.8 in a Mid-Suburban League crossover victory.

"The bar is set," said Fremd coach Elise Ference of the Vikings expectations. "Finishing on the podium has its advantages; you want to strive to do better."

Prospect also had the bar set high for this season, but the Knights took a major blow on Monday when senior Gianna Scala, a two-time state medalist, injured her left knee in practice. Scala will have an MRI on Thursday to determine the severity of the injury.

"The girls have been here before, they understand when someone goes down, someone needs to step up," said Prospect coach Randy Smith. "They did well for the opening meet."

Senior Christine Jensen powered the Vikings by taking first in the all-around (36.15) and adding a first-place finish on the beam (9.4). Jensen also contributed on the bars (9.1), vault (9.0), and floor (8.65).

"It's not a bad place to start, and there is still room for improvement," Jensen said of her team's effort. "We've been working all summer on adding new skills and consistency, it showed a little today."

Junior Christine Radochonski took first on the vault (9.4) and junior Sydney Plichta (9.5) tied for first on the bars in helping the Viking set the tone.

Fremd also received a lift from sophomore Carly DeFilippo, who took second on vault (9.3) and tied for third on floor (9.05), with sophomore Lisa Radochonski adding a second-place finish on beam (9.3) and a third on bars (9.45).

Sophomore Maggie Betti took third on vault (9.2) and junior Emily Neal added a third on beam (8.9) for Fremd.

"This is just a starting line," said Plichta, "We have so much more to achieve this year. It's our first meet and we know what we have to work on now."

Prospect responded well after absorbing the blow from Scala's injury on Monday.

Prospect wobbled a bit on the opening vault routine, but sophomore Megan Donner gave the Knights a lift on the next event, tying for first on the bars (9.5). Donner was limited her freshman year due to an elbow injury, but the sophomore flashed her potential on Tuesday by taking second in the all-around (35.10)

Junior Maddie Larock (9.45) and senior Jackie DiFonzo (9.1) then ended the night by going 1-2 on the floor.

Prospect also got some help from freshman Olivia Gonzalez (9.05) who tied for third on the floor. Larock tied for third on the vault (9.2) and DiFonzo took third in the all-around (35.00).

"We were all upset when the injury first happened," said Larock of Scala's setback. "But seeing Gianna here tonight gave us a lift. We know we have a strong team and we have a lot depth, so we just tried to keep it going."

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