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updated: 2/3/2014 11:22 PM

Kehr, Mundelein take regional

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  • Mundelein coach Nancy Toland, left, celebrates with McKenzie Kehr after her balance beam routine during regional gymnastics action Monday at Mundelein.

       Mundelein coach Nancy Toland, left, celebrates with McKenzie Kehr after her balance beam routine during regional gymnastics action Monday at Mundelein.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Mundelein's Nicole Ornoff competes on balance beam during Monday's regional at Mundelein.

       Mundelein's Nicole Ornoff competes on balance beam during Monday's regional at Mundelein.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Lakes' Melissa Lemke competes on floor exercise during Monday's regional at Mundelein.

       Lakes' Melissa Lemke competes on floor exercise during Monday's regional at Mundelein.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Wheeling's Meghan Aguayo competes on floor exercise during Monday's regional at Mundelein.

       Wheeling's Meghan Aguayo competes on floor exercise during Monday's regional at Mundelein.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Wheeling's Lexy Scanlon competes on floor exercise during Monday's regional at Mundelein.

       Wheeling's Lexy Scanlon competes on floor exercise during Monday's regional at Mundelein.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent

It had been 10 years since Mundelein's girls gymnastics last won a regional -- and there were plenty of witnesses to that achievement on hand Monday as the Mustangs hosted the first step of this year's state series.

Mundelein's regional drought is over, and fittingly, members of that 2004 regional title-winning team were on hand to present the current Mustangs with their regional championship plaque.

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Mundelein won with 138.45, ahead of Glenbrook North (134.475), Wheeling (126.175) and Evanston (122.925) to earn a spot in next Thursday's Niles North sectional.

"I'm most excited about the 2004 team coming back for this 2014 team," Mundelein coach Nancy Toland said. "It shows a lot -- that Mundelein gymnastics has come this far, with the consistency of the program."

The five competitors from the 2004 regional group on hand were Kim Hanson-Del Bene, Jessica Ranck, Nikki Spallone, Courtney Wilhelm and Jennifer Wallace.

On Monday night, the Mustangs' McKenzie Kehr made them proud. She won all four events and the all-around.

"It shows -- she's had it in her since she was a freshman," said Toland of her standout junior. "She has made it to state, but this year she's decided that making it isn't enough. She wants the podium, and the state finals is an expectation."

Kehr went for 37.7 in the all-around after recording the top scores on floor (9.475), vault (9.45), bars (9.45) and beam (9.375).

"I really wanted to try my best and get the big score for the team," said Kehr. "I really wanted to see our team make it to sectionals.

"I had a lot of focus out there and blocked out everything else. It was one of my better meets."

Other Mundelein gymnasts earning medals were Nicole Ornoff (third on vault, 8.825; fifth all-around, 33.775) and Marissa Rizzo (fourth on vault, 8.65).

Meghan Aguayo of Wheeling took third in the all-around with 34.75 and also danced her way to third on floor with 9.175. She also was fourth on beam (8.725), fifth on vault (8.625) and fifth on bars (8.225).

"I really like floor and my routine, because it give you a way to express yourself," Aguayo said. "I really had fun out there, because you can put on a show. You don't hide behind the choreography. I just had my personal motivation to help -- I just love dancing to my music."

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