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updated: 12/4/2013 10:51 PM

Geneva looking for an encore

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By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

Geneva may have surprised the state with its fifth-place finish (145.225) last February in the IHSA finals.

The Vikings don't plan on being a once-in-a-decade team though, and they showed that on Wednesday in their Upstate Eight Conference debut, disposing U-46 co-op, 137.35-127.65 at Geneva's Mack Olson gym.

"They've made some tweaks and added a lot of new skills that they haven't put in yet, so they have a lot of potential and 137 is a very good start," Vikings coach Kim Hostman said. "I was hoping for at least a 135 so I was happy with the outcome."

Understanding that their eyes are on a bigger prize -- getting to state again -- look for the Vikings to mix things up and not overly push during regular season dual meets, especially with a strong mix of talent available. On Wednesday, Hostman didn't use sophomore McKenna Merges and freshman Claire Rose Ginsberg. Both will figure prominently throughout the winter. Hostman is just being cautious as the team proceeds.

"We have to be smart so we're doing a lot of conditioning, and with a smaller team we've got to keep them in shape," Hostman said. "We're working to keep their bodies strong, doing a lot of icing and preventative, so they don't get injuries, and a lot of reps for dance for beam and floor, and then we're doing tumbling. It's just a matter of balancing the whole thing for the full season."

Junior Megan Beitzel won vault and bars with an 8.9 respectively in both events, while senior co-captain Dominique Brognia tied for first on beam with a 9.3 and won floor with a 9.1 as well as the all-around with a 35.45. Junior Grace Ginsberg was second in the all-around with a 34.85.

"Megan had a very good meet getting first on vault and bars," Hostman said. "We've been working with her a lot so that was good to see."

The Vikings were especially impressive on beam, behind Brognia's 9.3, Claire Scatterday's 9.2 and Ginsberg's 8.7.

"We were a little rocky on beam in our first meet and we worked hard on it and stayed on it for the most part today," Brognia said. "It's just the beginning of the season though and we're taking it slow these first meets and we'll bring out are better skills later."

U-46 co-op, which was known as Streamwood/Bartlett/South Elgin co-op in prior seasons but now also includes Larkin and Elgin, had some issues but still managed to post a 127.35 in its season debut.

"We had some issues with some equipment, but we made it through, so it was a good meet to get started," U-46 coach Tessa Aiossa said. "This wasn't necessarily the best meet we were looking for. We had some issues we didn't anticipate. That wasn't a reflection of my gymnasts, but was a reflection of equipment."

Senior Alyssa Konkel tied for first on beam with a 9.3, while sophomore newcomer, Emalee Smith, led the squad with a 33.4 in the all-around, finishing in third on vault (8.8) and bars (8.1) and second on floor (9.05).

"It was a lot different going from competing club gymnastics to high school," Smith said. "I was really excited. I mean, I don't know many of the girls. Most are from my school so it's kind of nice to be able to know more people."

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