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updated: 2/13/2014 11:35 PM

Stevenson's Shank an all-around success

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By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent

Elizabeth Shank didn't know what to expect going into the state gymnastics series.

The Stevenson junior chalked up the sectional runner-up spot in the all-around competition with a 36.925 at Niles North, as she refused to let her nerves get the best of her Thursday night.

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She also earned second place in the all-around in the Stevenson regional last week.

"I haven't done that before, getting second in the sectional," said Shank, who took off her entire sophomore year, not participating in any gymnastics. "I'm not feeling that much pressure as I have before. I'm having fun with the sport and doing it because I love it. It's not like I have to do it, so there's a lot less pressure."

Shank finished behind Lake Forest's Brittany Moccia, who won the all-around with a 37.85. McKenzie Kehr of Mundelein picked up third place (36.725) and Stevenson's Alyssa Weisberg settled for fourth (36.625).

New Trier (142.875) won the team title to advance to next Friday's state meet at Palatine. Carmel Catholic (141.05) and Stevenson (137.65) finished second and third.

Weisberg, the state's reigning beam champion, won beam with a 9.625.

"All week my full turns were off in practice," Weisberg said. "I was worried about that. There was a lot of pressure coming into the meet. It was one of my tougher weeks. I tried to stay positive and keep my mental state up."

Weisberg also qualified for state at-large on vault with a 9.3 and on floor with Wheeling's Meghan Aguayo (9.175 each).

On floor, Shank tied Carmel's Anna Osowski for second, as each posted a 9.4. Moccia's 9.5 was the winning score. Shank took fourth on vault (9.35), placed fifth on bars (8.9) and also qualified at-large on bars (9.275).

Osowski put together an outstanding routine on the floor.

"I was really confident going into it, and my teammates really helped me calm myself down before I got on the floor," Osowski said. "I think my landings on each of my passes were really clean. That's something I've been working on in practice."

Osowski also chalked up a fourth on bars with a 9.0 and will also qualify at-large in the all-around (36.525).

Kehr continues to get better and better for Mundelein. She not only placed in the all-around, but she was fourth on beam (9.55), fourth on floor (9.35) and fifth on vault (9.325).

"Up until now it's been straight forward," Kehr said. "I've been working hard in practice to make it to state. My vault and beam were pretty good events."

Libertyville's Mariah Lee was the runner-up on the bars with a 9.2, finishing behind Moccia (9.225). Moccia also took the top spot on vault (9.525). Lee has an at-large spot pending on vault (9.25).

Carmel's young squad missed out in qualifying for state.

"I thought the girls did so awesome out there," Corsairs coach Nicole Stroup said. "We hit four out of five beam routines, and they hit the rest of their routines. I can't ask for much more. That we went from 133 into the 140s at state-level meets with a freshman team was so amazing. They were starting to believe in themselves in a team."

The teams that qualified for state are Lyons (149.875), Prairie Ridge (148.525), Geneva (146.525), New Trier 142.875. At-large berths went to Fremd (147.675), Barrington (143.675), St. Charles North (143.15) and Prospect (142.925).

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