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updated: 12/12/2013 11:32 PM

Naperville North's Kawaoka enjoying adjustment

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By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

One of the things Naperville North sophomore Anneli Kawaoka is enjoying during her first year of high school gymnastics is that it's far more laid back than club gymnastics.

Her beam routine during Thursday's home DuPage Valley Conference meet was anything but laid back, though.

Kawaoka nailed her backhand spring layout early in her routine and then was pretty much flawless through her finish, scoring an impressive 9.65 to help Naperville North pull out a 137.85 to 135.45 victory.

"This team is like my new family," Kawaoka said. "I love being here and working out here. Gymnastics have never been like this before for me. I'm just having a lot of fun."

The combination of Kawaoka and junior Michaela Robert gives the Huskies a formidable 1-2 punch, and both were impressive.

Robert won the all-around with a 37 as she posted the best scores on bars with a 9.4 and floor with a 9.45. She also tied Kawaoka for top honors on vault with a 9.5.

"It's always nice to be at home and to compete on the equipment we're always practicing on," Robert said. "Practicing my floor really helped me redeem myself from Saturday (at Downers Grove North). I thought the team did really well today."

Other notable contributions for the Huskies came from Stephanie Mueller on floor with an 8.75, Shelby Porter with an 8.35 on vault and Allie Pecorin, who registered an 8.2 beam.

"The thing is we have those two solid all-arounders, but we also have some specialists with some nice scores," Huskies coach Chris Stanicek said. "It's a good feeling to have those two all-around scores and then have the rest of the girls to fill the other spots."

Audrey Channon, the lone all-arounder for Wheaton Warrenville co-op, finished with a 33.35. Lenna Klein had the team's only score above 9, scoring a 9.3 on vault.

"We anticipated doing better this week after losing about seven points on falls at Glenbard East," Wheaton Warrenville co-op coach Maureen Latimer said. "So we had hoped to improve on that, and although I thought we fought really hard on floor we made more mental mistakes on beam and we need to fix that."

Katie McDonald added an 8.8 on floor, Laura Hughes scored an 8.55 on bars, Julie Galo recorded an 8.8 on vault and Briana Mulhearn had an 8.45 on vault.

"We have a lot of depth with the returning juniors, and they're a hard-working group so I think you'll see us constantly improving," Latimer said. "This year we're going to attack our skills early and go for this big ones and allow for the mistakes to happen. Tonight was just a part of that process."

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