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updated: 12/4/2013 10:13 PM

Girls gymnastics: Scouting Northwest

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  • Hersey's Anne Johnson shows perfect form on the uneven bars at Hoffman Estates on Wednesday.

       Hersey's Anne Johnson shows perfect form on the uneven bars at Hoffman Estates on Wednesday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Maggie Barton flys off the vault at Hoffman Estates on Wednesday.

       Hersey's Maggie Barton flys off the vault at Hoffman Estates on Wednesday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Hoffman Estates' Alyssa Kathe eyes the top bar of the uneven bars against Hersey on Wednesday.

       Hoffman Estates' Alyssa Kathe eyes the top bar of the uneven bars against Hersey on Wednesday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Anne Johnson eyes the top bar Wednesday at Hoffman Estates.

       Hersey's Anne Johnson eyes the top bar Wednesday at Hoffman Estates.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Alysa Zurlo works the uneven bars at Hoffman Estates on Wednesday.

       Hersey's Alysa Zurlo works the uneven bars at Hoffman Estates on Wednesday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Maggie Barton eyes the top bar of the uneven bars at Hoffman Estates on Wednesday.

       Hersey's Maggie Barton eyes the top bar of the uneven bars at Hoffman Estates on Wednesday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Hoffman Estates' Jasminka Sabic on the uneven bars against Hersey on Wednesday.

       Hoffman Estates' Jasminka Sabic on the uneven bars against Hersey on Wednesday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

MID SUBURBAN LEAGUE EAST

Buffalo Grove

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Coach: Stephanie Schrader (12 years)

Key losses: Jordan Mann

Varsity gymnasts: Diandra Duenser (soph.), Erika Ray (sr.), Sarah Cotton (soph.), Bridget Donnowitz (fr.), Isabelle Samson (fr.).

Outlook: The Bison finished ninth in the MSL last season and will miss the contributions from Mann, who was their top gymnast last year. But Duenser will look to pick up the slack as Buffalo Grove's top all-around threat and will combine with Ray to pace the overall attack.

Elk Grove

Coach: Heather DeCook (10th year)

Key losses: Kalina Kirilova

Varsity gymnasts: Amelia Rafferty (sr.), Anna Bonder (soph.), Mia Loxley (soph.), Codi Oehlerking (sr.), Inah Enolva (jr.), Jasmine Kim (jr.), Sandi Cruz (soph.)

Outlook: Rafferty cemented her status as one of the state's top gymnasts last season. She won the MSL all-around title, then advanced to state in the all-around, vault, beam, and floor. Rafferty had the top sectional floor mark before finishing sixth at the state meet; she will miss the early part of the season due to a hand injury, but DeCook is hoping to have her back by conference meet. The Grenadiers will need someone to pick up the slack in the present, and Bonder may be the one to do just that. She is hoping to build off a strong freshman season and will lead the Grens.

Hersey

Coach: Shannon Barrett (first year)

Varsity gymnast: Annie Johnson (sr.), Alysa Zurlo (soph.), Margaret Barton (fr.), Haines (jr.), Alexandria Heidrich (fr.), Vanessa Schmidt (fr.), Rachel Duda (sr.).

Outlook: Johnson qualified to her first state meet last season on the bars, and this season the senior is looking to be force in all four events coming off a second straight appearance in the diving state championship meet. She has the potential to be a gymnastics state qualifier in the all-around. Zurlo is right with Johnson as far as skills and will add to the Huskies attack. Barton, Schmidt, and Heidrich are talented freshmen that will give the Huskies depth. Hersey is a team that could surprise this year.

Prospect

Coach: Randy Smith (fourth year)

Key losses: Meggie Kania

Varsity gymnasts: Gianna Scala (sr.), Jackie DiFonzo (sr.), Maddie Larock (jr.), Maddie Boldt (jr.), Megan Donner (soph.), Olivia Sullo (so.), Candice Melendez (so.), Olivia Gonzalez (fr.), Megan Schmit (fr.).

Outlook: Prospect has been knocking on the door the past two season in their quest to secure a state berth, and this season Knights are looking to open that door. The Knights suffered an early blow when Scala, the team's top all-arounder, went down with a knee injury. Prospect is hoping she returns, but Larock will pace the Knights in her absence. She finished fifth in the MSL in the all-around last season. DiFonzo, Boldt and Bonner will look to fill in the spaces. Gonzalez enters with high potential. Prospect is deep and talented and will be in contention for a state qualification.

Rolling Meadows

Coach: Michael Costa (9th year)

Varsity gymnasts: Kelly Johnson (soph.), Rachel Andersen (sr.), Victoria Zervos (fr.), Ana Cinch (fr.).

Outlook: Costa is very optimistic about the Mustangs' potential this season with Johnson leading the attack. She opened plenty of eyes as a freshman by finishing third in the MSL in the all-around and then qualifying for the state meet on the bars. She has since added new skills and is looking to pick up where she left off. Andersen will be the No. 2 gymnast and will be a major contributor to the team. Zervos and Cinch, both freshmen, are looking to make a impact. The Mustangs are definitely a team on the rise.

Wheeling

Coach: Nicole Maila (2nd year).

Key losses: Ally Pink.

Varsity gymnasts: Katherine Kowalski (soph.), Hannah Bradford (soph.), Meghan Aguayo (soph.), Lexi Scanlon (jr.), Cali Parisi (sr.), Anne Janulis (sr.), Annah Meintzer (sr.)

Outlook: Janulis and Meinzter return to lead the Wildcats, who are looking to improve on their 11th-place conference finish. Kowalski gained valuable experience last year, and Aguayo who missed last season with a knee injury, will also look to contribute.

MID-SUBURBAN WEST

Barrington

Coach: Jason Loeffler (18th year)

Varsity gymnasts: Abby Hasanov (soph.), Molly Blanke (soph.), Jessica Lee (jr.), Brooke Morgan (sr.), Amanda Morgan (soph.), Jada Jones (jr.), Tara Schuman (jr.), Rachel Timpeiman (fr.), Hayley Nilles (fr.).

Outlook: Hasanov exploded onto the scene last season, qualifying to the state meet in the all-around, vault, bars, and floor, and advancing to Saturday's finals on both the vault and bars before being pulled due to a 103-degree fever. This year the sophomore will be one of top gymnasts in the MSL and will look for another shot at the state finals. Blanke and Amanda Morgan also had impressive freshman seasons and will contribute this year. Lee, who is coming back from an injury, is hoping to return by the end of the season. And Timpeiman and Nilles will look to add to the Fillies attack. The Fillies have been slowed by injuries the past few seasons but may be ready for a major breakthrough this year. Qualifying for state may be within reach for this talented team.

Conant

Coach: Lorel Cunningham (seventh year)

Key losses: Sarah Starzynski.

Varsity gymnasts: Meicie Bennett (sr.), Ali Kelly (soph.), Gina Massa (jr.), Bridget Shanahan (jr.), Rachel Tong (sr.), Sarah Zorilla (soph.).

Outlook: Conant will miss the contributions of Starzynski, who despite missing a chunk of last season still contributed at the end for the Cougars. Bennett qualified for state on the floor last season and will combine with Tong to lead the attack this season. Both Zorilla and Kelly are hoping to continue their improvement. Conant came on strong at the end of last season, and the hope is the Cougars will do the same this season. Don't be surprised if a few new faces such as sophomore Baily Hornstein add to the attack.

Fremd

Coach: Elise Ference (third year)

Key losses: Anna Johnson, Shannon Lemajeur, Mary Smaga, Stephanie Gallo, and Emily Pinderski.

Varsity gymnasts: Christine Jensen (sr.), Chrissy Radochonski (jr.), Sydney Plichta (jr.), Emily Neal (jr.), Carly DeFilippo (soph.), Lisa Radochonski (soph.), Maggie Betti (soph.).

Outlook: Last year the Vikings won the MSL title and then capped their season by taking the third place trophy at state. They will be looking for more this season. Chrissy Radochonski (floor), Jensen (vault, beam) and Plichta (beam, bars) qualified individually to state last season and form the talented core for this year's team. All three have individual state medal aspirations. Lisa Radochonski, DeFilippo, Betti, and Neal are on their heels and will push the attack. Fremd definitely has the potential to make a run for the top two spots in state with its deep and versatile lineup.

Hoffman Estates

Coach: Natelie Tindle (fifth year)

Varsity gymnasts: Jasminka Sabic (jr.), Alyssa Kathe (jr.), Jenny Gonzalez (jr.), Sidney Blantz (soph.), Marie Lange (jr.), Darcy Majeske (fr.), Thalia Espinoza (jr.).

Outlook: Sabic paced the Hawks attack last year and is looking to continue her success this year. Hoffman has a young team that will be looking for improvement throughout the season.

Palatine

Coach: Terry Theobald (32nd year)

Key losses: Abby Alden, Nicole Kuksa, Megan Hedstrom.

Varsity gymnasts: Claudia Przystal (jr.), Morgan Anderson (jr.), Andrea Ori (jr.), Cindy Felciano (jr.), Kra Ure (fr.), Megan Cunningham (soph.), Gabby Heidrich (soph.), Slywia Lizak (jr.).

Outlook: Palatine will miss Alden and Kuksa, as both were big contributors for the Pirates last season. Przystal earned her first trip to the state meet last year on the beam and will join Anderson and Ori to lead the Pirates attack this year. Theobald will be patient as his young talent develops; he hopes to have them peaking at the end.

Schaumburg

Coach: Elizabeth Prostka (first year).

Varsity gymnasts: Alyssa Vogt (sr.), Kat Young (sr.), Ashley Chimas (sr.), Sam Panther (jr.), Caiti Poland (soph.), Jessica Muza (soph.), Myriam Brito (fr.), Alison Janega (fr.).

Outlook: Chimas, Panther, Poland, and Young give the Saxons experience and were big contributors last season. Prostka, who is in her first year as head coach, will look for the veterans to lead the team. Don't be surprised if a few newcomers add to the score.

CENTRAL SUBURBAN NORTH

Maine West

Coach: Amanda Harrison (second year)

Key losses: Jessie Frank, Dakota Kawalek, Kayla Rizos, Alexis Monical.

Varsity gymnasts: Marissa Gradie (soph.), Kate Barzano (jr.), Donna Gallano (sr.), Loryn Floral (sr.), Rachelle Bugajsky (sr.), Nikki Bonilla (jr.), Stephanie Schillinger (sr.), Shannon Morley (sr.)

Outlook: Gradie was all-conference last season and also advanced to the sectionals in the all-around. The sophomore is the Warriors top gymnast and will push the attack. Floral, Bugajsky, and Gallon will add experience for the Warriors.

WEST SUBURBAN GOLD

Leyden

Coach: Jennifer Thomas (second year)

Key losses: Kristy Dolan, Angelica Rejczak

Varsity gymnasts: Hannah Brewer, Melissa Pasterz, Menecis Garriga, Erlyn Carera, Siahn Correa, Alyssa Lawkowski, Abby Grande, Carlean Vasquez.

Outlook: Pasterz and Correa look to lead a very young Eagle team that will be pushing for improvement throughout the season.

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