Jacobs girls gymnast Allison Riedel did not have a 2012-2013 season to remember.
Riedel suffered a Lisfranc injury at last year's Fremd sectional that prevented her from competing in the state finals last year.
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"Basically I broke eight to 15 bones in my foot," she said. "The main bone supporting my arch broke and the bones connected to the arch folded in. I had two surgeries and two wires and two screws put in. It was not a good injury. It was really hard watching the state meet last year knowing I should have been competing. The injury has only made me that much stronger of a gymnast."
Riedel, who competes as an individual for Jacobs and is part of the Cary Gymnastics club team, has come back stronger than ever this season.
Her improvement will be on display today at the IHSA girls state finals meet at Palatine High School. The state meet concludes Saturday.
Riedel qualified for state on bars, beam and floor as well as in the all-around competition.
"I'm impressed with how much more mentally stronger and positive I am this year," she said. "The doctors were iffy about me coming back. They weren't sure I would walk normally, but I always knew I wanted to get back into the gym. I wasn't going to give up just because I broke my foot."
Riedel explained how she didn't feel a ton of pressure in her quest to get back to the state meet.
"I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself or put high expectations on myself," she said. "I had a serious injury and was able to come back and do gymnastics again. That made me happy and making the state tournament makes it that much more exciting."
The 11-year gymnastics veteran said she's made the most strides on bars this season.
"Everything has started to click more," she said. "I've been working hard on bars and that's the event I've definitely improved on the most."
Riedel said she would love to compete in gymnastics at the collegiate level (she mentioned schools such as Central Michigan, Northern Illinois and UW-LaCrosse as programs that have caught her eye). She would like to pursue a career in physical therapy. She acquired a deep appreciation for the field during her injury.
"With the injury my physical therapist was always there for me," she said. "It was a great feeling knowing she was always there. I think it's a profession where I could do a good job. I don't want to sit in an office. I want to always be moving and helping people."
Riedel has no expectations heading into today's competition.
"There's no place I have to get," she said. "I want to do my best and have fun. I couldn't be any happier knowing I'm doing gymnastics again. It's a great feeling to go to the gym and come home healthy. It's something I really appreciate after going through my injury."
Freshman Ashley McKee will represent the Elgin Area U-46 co-op team. McKee will compete on bars.
"I didn't do a full routine on bars up until the sectional meet and then I put in a bale and a double back at the end," McKee explained. "My coach helped me a lot with it."
McKee has her sights set on delivering her best performance possible.
"I want to hit my routine and do what I'm capable of," she said. "I want to go out and set a good routine and represent our team well at the state meet."
The Prairie Ridge co-op team scored the second-highest sectional team score at 148.525 behind only Lyons Township (149.875).
The Wolves have four gymnasts in the all-around competition in juniors Dylann Perrone and Rachael Underwood, and sophomores Kendall Rumford and Maddie Solka.
Perrone, Solka and Underwood will be joined by junior teammate Jada Berkland on the vault. Rumford, Solka and Underwood qualified on bars, while Berkland Rumford and Underwood will compete on beam. Underwood also will be part of the floor exercise contingent.