It's that time of year in girls gymnastics -- the point where everybody's trying to push scores higher.
Including Carmel, which got a good start to the new year of competition in the Robin Straus Invitational on Saturday at Lake Forest High School.
The Corsairs posted their highest score of the season-- 140.675 -- which was good for third place and was a half-point improvement over their previous best this season. Lyons took top honors in the team race at 150.45, followed by Prairie Ridge at 146.075.
"We really didn't start well on beam, but they came back on the next three events," Carmel Catholic coach Nicole Stroup said. "They really hit and shined on them. They are adding new tricks and skills on some events. They had some nerves, but they focused on working on their performances."
The Corsairs spent much of their holiday break in the gym, honing their routines for the latter stages of the season. Stroup hopes the consistency in practice translates to competition.
"The girls were there every day," Stroup said. "They were working on everything, working on skills for their routines. They are hard-working, dedicated girls."
The Corsairs' Anna Osowski tied for fourth place with Katie Carling of Lyons with a 9.35 on the floor exercise after hitting one of her better routines.
"I thought the routine was OK, but I could still have some improvements in there," Osowski said. "I think my teammates cheering me on made me get through the passes. I definitely have been working on my first pass, trying to get it better."
Osowski's teammate Antonia Durnil finished sixth on floor with a 9.3 and seventh on vault 9.625.
Osowski placed seventh in the all-around with a 36.2; Lyons' Kelly Kurfirst won with a 38.825. Osowski also landed sixth on beam with a 9.1
Kurfirst was the top gymnast on floor with a 9.7, and on beam with a 9.65.
Rachel Underwood of Prairie Ridge took the top spots on both vault (9.85) and bars (9.7).
Kyra McCue of Warren hit a psuk pike vault for a fourth-place finish at 9.675.
"It was my personal best," McCue said. "This time I landed it and didn't take a step. I did work hard over the break, but this week we had one day of practice on the vault because of a couple days of practice was canceled by the weather."
St. Charles didn't have one of its best meets and took fourth at 139.55. Conant was right behind in fifth at 136.575 and Lake Park was sixth at 134.
"The girls were really positive and kept working for each other," Conant coach Lorel Cunningham said. "Skill-wise, the girls are doing what they can and pushing through working hard. We worked hard over the break."
Rachel Tong of Conant finished eighth on vault 9.15.
Rachel Dugan of St. Charles was eighth in the all-around (35.55) and Lake Park's Annalise Donati was close behind at 35.3. Dugan also placed fifth on vault (9.65).
Kelly Goniak of St. Charles finished seventh on floor exercise (9.05).