Prairie Ridge co-op and Fremd were neck and neck from start to finish at the Conant sectional on Monday.
But the Wolves capitalized on the vault, their final event, to spring ahead of the Vikings and secure their third consecutive sectional title with 148.525 points in Hoffman Estates.
Fremd took second with 147.675 points, followed by Barrington (143.675) and Prospect (142.925).
This much is known after the first of four sectionals: Prairie Ridge, which won a third-place trophy in 2012 and a second-place trophy last season, became the first of four automatic qualifiers to advance to the girls gymnastic state meet on Feb. 21 and 22 at Palatine High School.
There will also be four at-large bids given to teams that compile the highest team score without winning a sectional. Fremd's mark puts the Vikings in good position to qualify for its 22nd consecutive state meet.
But both Barrington and Prospect will do a lot of scoreboard-watching the next few day. The Fillies and Knights both notched solid marks and should be in contention for an at-large state berths.
Junior Rachael Underwood propelled the Prairie Ridge co-op team, as the Cary-Grove junior won the all-around (38.40), also taking first on vault (9.75), bars (9.55) and beam (.9.7) and tying for fifth on floor exercise (9.4).
Sophomore Maddie Solka also gave the Wolves a lift, as the Cary-Grove junior took second on the vault (9.575) and tied for fifth on bars (9.175).
Prairie Ridge trailed Fremd entering the final event, but Underwood and Solka went 1-2 on vault.
"We knew we had to go out and go hard," said Underwood of the final event. "As a team we picked it up."
Fremd also had strong performance. Senior Christine Jensen finished fourth in the all-around (37.3) after tying for third on beam (9.525) and taking fourth on floor (9.45).
"We want to peak at the right time, and there are places we can pick up points," said Jensen, whose team finished third at state last season. "We're happy with the score, but we know we can get more."
A trio of juniors also gave the Vikings a big lift on Monday night. Sydney Plichta came through taking fourth on the bars (9.3) and tying for fifth on the beam (9.5). Emily Neal was a steadying influence in tying for fifth on the bars (9.175). And Christine Radochonski gave the Vikings a huge boost to start the night by taking second on floor (9.525).
"I wanted nothing more than to do it for my team," said Radochonski of her early performance. "We haven't peaked yet and there is definitely more to come."
Barrington got off to a strong start on its first two events, floor and vault. But the Fillies had bit of a letdown on bars before finishing strong on beam.
Junior Abby Hasanov led the charge by taking second in the all-around (37.95), second on beam (9.65) and third on vault (9.475), bars (9.35) and floor (9.475).
"We knew the scores were going to be tougher tonight," said Hasanov. "We're just so close right now, and if we make it to state that will be awesome."
Senior Brooke Morgan contributed to the Fillies' attack by tying for fourth on vault (9.45).
Junior Maddie Larock finished fifth in the all-around (37.25) in leading Prospect to fourth place.
The Knights got off to a slow start on beam but followed with a strong performance on the floor and vault to put them in contention for its first state berth.
"It's difficult because you don't want to wait," said Larock who also tied for fifth on the beam. "We've been in this position before, so we are used to it. The good thing is we're not out of it yet."
Freshman Olivia Gonzalez bolstered the Knights by tying for fifth on floor (9.4).
Individually, Elk Grove's Amelia Rafferty took third in all-around (37.60). She won floor (9.6), tied for third on beam (9.525) tied for fourth on vault (9.45).
Rolling Meadow sophomore Kelly Johnston took second on the bars (9.4) and Jacob junior Alison Riedel tied for fourth on the floor (9.4).