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updated: 1/18/2014 8:52 PM

Steady Jensen paces Fremd's fine performance

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By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

Fremd's girls gymnastic team has been in a state of major flux this season, as the Vikings have been balancing injuries against an infusion of new talent.

But one thing has remained constant for Fremd: senior Christine Jensen.

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Jensen was at it again on Saturday, taking first in the all-around (38.25) and leading the host Vikings to a second-place finish with 147.65 points at the Mari-Rae Sopper Invitational in Palatine.

"Definitely one of my best nights," said Jensen who also took first on the floor (9.5), tied for first on the beam (9.6), added a second-place finish on bars (9.65) and a fourth-place finish on vault (9.5) in a sizzling performance. "Like I've said before, this is my senior year and I don't want to leave with any regrets."

Defending state champion Lyons Township cruised to the title with an impressive 149.90, with Naperville Central (137.30) taking third. St. Charles Co-op (136.95) and Downers Grove South (136.05) rounded out the top five.

Fremd has dealt with its share of injuries this season and was missing junior Sydney Plichta, a two-time state finalist, on Saturday. But the Vikings still secured their second-best score of the season.

"All the credit goes to the girls," said Fremd coach Elise Ference. "They see one of their sisters go down, and they step up for them."

Jensen had plenty of support, as sophomore Carly DeFilippo tied for second on the floor (9.45), junior Emily Neal took fourth on the bars (9.35), with junior Chrissy Radochonski placed fourth on beam (9.4).

Radochonski is shaking off the rust after a mid-season injury, and with the return of Plichta the Vikings have their sights set another deep postseason run. Last year they finished third at state.

"We think we can do even better this year," said Radochonski. "We have a lot of potential and we're looking to reach new heights."

Lyons showed on Saturday it is ready to defend its state title. Senior Katie Carling (37.8), junior Kelsy Kurfirst (37.5) and senior Michelle Cozza (37.35) went 2-3-4 in the all-around to lead a dominant Lions attack.

"This is a new year, with a new team," said Carling who took first on bars (9.7), tied for second on floor (9.45) and placed fifth on vault (9.45). "We've set new goals and we're looking to reach them."

Kurfirst took third on vault (9.6) and beam (9.5) and was fourth on floor (9.4). Cozza tied for first on vault (9.7) and tied for fifth on floor (9.3). Jackie Fuller also gave the Lions a lift by taking third on bars (9.4) and fifth on beam (9.35).

Jill Schuberth finished 10th in the all-around (35.5) in leading Naperville Central to a season-best score.

St. Charles Co-op was missing three varsity gymnast including senior Kelly Gorniak, but sophomore Rachel Dugan stepped up, tying for fifth on the floor (9.3).

"With some of the girls missing we lost a bit of momentum," said Dugan, whose team qualified for state last season. "We know we have the potential -- it's just eliminating mistakes."

Inna Dzyuma took fifth on the bars (9.25) helping Downers Grove South secure fifth place.

Glenbrook South freshman Hannah Hartley took fifth in the all-around (36.7) tying for first on the vault (9.7) and beam (9.6).

Senior Claudia Przystal, senior Andrea Ori, and freshman Kara Ure helped Palatine secure its second-best score of the season (129.25).

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