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updated: 2/6/2014 10:56 PM

Full-force effort from Fremd

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By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

Fremd had all hands on deck in the girls gymnastics regional meet it hosted Thursday night.

The Vikings showed their depth, especially on balance beam, in cruising to its 22nd consecutive regional title with 148.175 points in Palatine.

Rolling Meadows sophomore Kelly Johnston won the all-around title (37.65 points), propelling the Mustangs to second place with a season-best score of 139.875. Maine South (136.15) took third, followed by Maine East (105.05).

Fremd joins Prairie Ridge co-op, Barrington and Prospect as automatic qualifiers to the Conant sectional at 6:30 p.m. Monday. Conant and Schaumburg also advance to the sectional with at-large bids.

Junior Christine Jensen took second in the all-around (37.65) in leading Fremd. She was first on vault (9.55) and floor (9.5) along with second on beam (9.525) and fifth on bars (8.9).

Fremd hit big on the beam with a 37.85 team score. Supporting Jensen's second-place effort were juniors Sydney Plichta (9.5), Emily Neal (9.425) and Christine Radochonski (9.4), who went 3-4-5.

"It's a make or break event," said Jensen. "When we hit, we feed off each other."

"We knew what we needed to do," said Plichta, who won bars with a 9.6. "We kept our energy up and we didn't let it dip down. We were able to wipe away all the pressure."

Sophomore Carly DeFilippo also stepped up for the Vikings, taking second on vault (9.5) and adding fourth-place finishes on bars (9.025) and floor (8.975).

Radochonski kept Fremd moving with a third-place finish on both vault (9.4) and floor (9.125), and Neal contributed a second-place finish on bars (9.375) in helping Fremd to it second best score of the season.

"We have a deep team," said Fremd coach Elise Ference, whose team was able to recover from a couple of slips and falls. "If we have one go down, we have four others to pick them up. It's a special bond."

And Fremd will need that bond on Monday, entering a sectional that features four automatic qualifying teams that have gone above the 146-point mark at the regional meets. Thursday's result suggests the Vikings are ready.

"Definitely, that's what we've been preparing for," said Jensen.

Johnston finished sixth in the all-around at the Mid-Suburban League meet last Friday, but she made a big gain in the regional for Rolling Meadows.

The Mustangs junior started the night by taking third on bars (9.3), then added a fourth-place finish on vault (9.375). She turned it up a notch by taking second on floor (9.325) and capped her evening by securing the beam title (9.65).

"After conference I came into this meet hungry," said Johnston. "Today I just wanted to put it all out there."

Johnston won the beam title at the MSL meet and she continued to elevate her performance Thursday.

"Before I go, I just know I have to hit the routine -- and I know I can," added Johnston who used a flip-flop full dismount to put an exclamation point on her performance.

Freshman Victoria Zervos also gave the Mustangs a big lift on Thursday with a fifth-place finish on the floor (8.825).

"I'm extremely happy with how the team performed," said Rolling Meadows coach Michael Costa. "Everyone came in and did their job."

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