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updated: 1/30/2014 11:21 PM

Geneva shatters school record, wins UEC

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By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

It was a night of bests for one of the best girls gymnastics teams in the state, as well as others, during Thursday's Upstate Eight Conference Meet at Neuqua Valley in Naperville.

Geneva's Claire Ginsberg, Dominique Brognia, Grace Ginsberg, Megan Beitzel, McKenna Merges and Claire Scatterday made school history with, by far, the best gymnastics performance in Vikings history.

They shattered the previous school scoring record of 146.275, established at last year's Geneva regional, with 149.15 points to easily win the conference meet.

Runner-up St. Charles co-op posted an impressive 144.625 points, but were nearly five points off the pace.

To put this accomplishment in perspective, the only team to score better than 149.15 points this season is Lyons, the defending state champions.

"I knew we had the potential to get there," Geneva coach Kim Hostman said. "We had been holding back some of their skills just to keep them safe for the postseason, so we added the majority of them and they really did an amazing job tonight."

Claire Ginsberg won the all-around title with a 38.05, breaking her own record, which she set earlier this year when she surpassed Ashley Felicelli's mark from 2006. Ginsberg also took home titles on vault with a 9.6 and floor with a 9.65 as she averaged 9.5125 per event.

"It's exciting to win the all-around and it's even more exciting to win as a team," she said. "I know I helped the team win tonight and now I have some confidence for regionals and sectionals, and hopefully can make it to state."

The extraordinary freshman wasn't the only one enjoying an incomparable evening as Brognia (37.75), Grace Ginsberg (36.225) and Beitzel (35.7) all scored career bests in the all-around.

"I didn't even realize we were doing that well," Brognia said. "I knew we were scoring higher but it came as a bit of a shock. I didn't really put it together that we were doing as great as we were."

Amazingly, Geneva posted the top three scores on vault, bars, and the floor exercise and took second and third place on beam.

Merges, who only vaulted on Thursday, tied for second place with Beitzel with a 9.5. Scatterday added a 9 on beam, 8.95 on bars and 8.9 on floor exercise as the Vikings two specialists also made huge contributions.

"I felt when I woke up that it was going to be a good day," Claire Ginsberg said. "I felt that everyone's hearts were in it."

St. Charles co-op's Sidney Coperland was the only non-Viking to finish in the top three as she took home the beam title with a 9.65.

"I haven't fallen off beam all year, knock on wood," she said. "I just went out there and did what I usually do. Last year I got hurt at conference so it was nice to finish like that."

Copeland finished with a 36.025 in the all-around while sophomore Rachel Dugan paced the team, taking third place with a 37.

The U-46 co-op was third with a season-best 137.25 with Ashley McKee leading the way with a 35.15.

The host Wildcats (134.95), Batavia (134.7) and Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley co-op (130.1) finished in the bottom half of the results, but all three schools had to be pleased as their scores were all season-bests.

"I thought we had a real shot at third place, so as a very competitive coach, I'm kind of bummed out a little bit." Neuqua Valley coach Anthony Avella said. "But we ended up scoring our season high so I have to be happy with how today went."

Batavia's Courtney Glassman and Cameron Hindel added top-five finishes on vault with a 9.45 and 9.4 respectively, while U-46's Emalee Smith was fifth on floor with a 9.1.

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