Maggie Betti is one of the young gymnasts providing support for an impressive Fremd's girls gymnastic team. She's just a sophomore, but is quickly looking like a leader.
On Saturday, Betti earned top honors on the balance beam with a season-best 9.45 at the New Trier Holiday Invite in Winnetka. She also finished third on vault with a 9.35 and fourth in the all-around at 36.325.
"It's a great a opportunity to be out there," said Betti, who was only performing one event last year but has since developed into an all-arounder. "There's a lot of leadership going on with our gymnastics team. There's a lot of inspiration and I'm learning a lot. I really look up to the seniors and Christine Jensen. They're very motivational -- before you go on an event, they get the mood up a lot, and that gives me a really good feeling."
Jensen led the Vikings with the top all-around score of 37.6. She also had top honors on vault (9.4), seconds on bars (9.45) and floor (9.4) and fourth on beam (9.35). Sydney Plichta chalked up first on bars with 9.525, while Emily Neal finished third on bars 9.275, and Carly DeFilippo placed fifth on vault 9.275.
Fremd captured first place with a team score of 146.6. Host New Trier was second 141.35 and Carmel Catholic was third 139.775 in the eight team field.
The Vikes were just under their season high score of 147.8, which they posted in the triangular meet with Barrington and Palatine on Tuesday.
"We're progressing very well," Fremd coach Elise Ference said. "We had consistency. We're bringing up new girls and some of them have never competed here before. We're giving them exposure in varsity competition and they're doing it in fun fashion. And they're stepping up for some gymnasts that are hurt right now."
Carmel, competing in its second meet in less than 24 hours, nearly matched its Friday night score. The Corsairs had a 140.15 in a holiday meet against Schaumburg at Lake Forest.
"It was on the schedule since the beginning of the season," Carmel coach Nicole Stroup said. "The girls knew it was coming and they responded very well to it and they were excited about it. It was similar to what we would be doing at state."
The Corsairs are a young group of gymnasts, but they're quickly making progress.
"We still have a lot of upgrades with the girls and they still have to clean up the small mistakes," Stroup said. "This is a kind of rebuilding year -- but a fun year, because we get to mold new gymnasts into the Carmel philosophy that we'd like to continue."
Anna Osowski led Carmel in taking second in the all-around 36.525, third on floor (9.3) and fifth on both beam (9.3) and bars (8.975). Antonia Durnil was runner-up on vault (9.375) and third on beam (9.375).
"There are improvements to make," said Durnil, who has recovered from a turf toe injury last spring. "I thought my vault was pretty good and I was able stick my routine on the beam. It's a matter of keeping focused."
Stevenson's Elizabeth Shank earned fifth place on the floor, but had a 15-minute delay for her routine because the CD player wouldn't play the Christmas music. She ended up doing the routine without any music.
"They were having trouble with the music," Shank said. "I think it wasn't reading the disc. I just had to wait all that time, and I kept waiting to see if it was going to start soon. I think by doing gymnastics for so long, it's not as nerve-wracking as it could be.
"All the time that I waited, I just wanted to get the routine done. I was fine without the music, but I have never competed without music and it's never been a problem before. It was just like practice."
Stevenson also competed without Alyssa Weisberg, who was out because of a lingering injury.
Kyra McCue of Warren earned fourth-place honors by landing a tsuk pike vault for a 9.325.
"I stuck the vault and had a lot of good height," McCue said. "I really didn't do well at the last invite. But invites are so much more important then duals are."