Fremd and junior Christine Radochonski did not get off to the most promising start at the girls gymnastics high school state meet in Palatine on Friday.
Radochonski, who was first up on the beam, the Vikings initial event, counted a fall in her routine.
But the Vikings and Radochonski didn't blink. Instead, they answered the challenge.
Fremd had four individuals advance to the finals, helping the Vikings gain a solid grip on third place with 146.675 points.
Radochonski came back from her beam performance to nail her floor routine (9.425) with the third-best qualifying mark.
"Falling on beam obviously made me angry," said Radochonski, "but I put that anger into my skills. My team is so helpful, and without them I wouldn't have been able to respond."
That was just one of the clutch performances by the Vikings. Senior Christine Jensen continued to impress, advancing to her first finals by taking fifth on balance beam (9.4) and tying for sixth place on floor (9.375).
Junior Sydney Plichta had made the finals in each of her first two years, and she did it again, advancing on the beam (9.425) after tying for eight place. And sophomore Carly DeFilippo joined the fun by tying for sixth place and advancing on vault (9.55).
"We all knew we needed to hit tonight," said DeFilippo. "If someone messed up, we had their backs. We start as a team and we finish as a team."
So with the conclusion to the preliminaries there are a few things that are known. It may be a new year, but the results haven't changed much.
Lyons Township took a firm hold on first place with 150.55 points. Senior Katie Carling (37.7) and junior Kelsy Kurfirst (37.6) went 2-3 in the all-around in leading the Lions one-step closer to its second consecutive state title.
Prairie Ridge co-op finished second last year and that is where the Wolves are headed this year scoring 148.825 points.
Fremd is looking at its second consecutive third-place finish -- and that's just fine with the Vikings.
"We are happy with where we are," added Jensen who also tied for eighth place in the all-around (37.075). "Everybody stepped up tonight and it's really huge."
Barrington (144.300) is sitting in fourth place, followed by Geneva (143.575), St. Charles co-op (143.425), New Trier (141.90), and Prospect (141.600).
Geneva freshman Claire Rose Ginsberg made the most of her opportunities in taking first in the all-around (37.875).
Elk Grove senior Amelia Rafferty (37.475) and Barrington sophomore Abby Hasanov (37.35) were solid from start to finish in 4-5 in the all-around, each earning their first state medals.
Rafferty started the season with a hand injury, but the Grenadier senior was solid from start to finish on Friday. She advanced to finals on three events, tying for first on the bars (9.55), tying for 8th on the beam (9.35), and tying for 10th on the floor (9.25).
"I didn't even think I had a chance at placing in the all-around," said Rafferty, who thought she got off to slow start on her first two events before exploding on the bars and hanging tight on the beam. "I think that may have actually helped because I went all out on my final two events."
Hasanov finished seventh in the all-around last year and advanced on the bars and vault. But she missed the finals due to a high fever. This year the Fillies sophomore wasn't going to miss anything.
Hasanov earned her first state medal in the all-around and also advanced on two events tying for eighth place on the floor (9.325) and a taking 10th place on the bars (9.25).
"I am happy with my performance and it's nice to be healthy this season," said Hasanov, "I feel like I have been improving and it really means a lot."
Barrington was making its first state appearance since 2003 and the Fillies delivered with a fourth place effort heading into Saturday finals, scoring a solid 144.30. Barrington struggled a bit in opening event on the bars, but the Fillies came back strong on the final three events.
"We struggled on bars, but after that we put it together," said Barrington coach Jason Loeffler of the Fillies effort that included going five-for-five on beam. "We wanted to make a good showing and I think we did."
That included senior Brooke Morgan who advanced to the finals tying for sixth place on the vault (9.55).
Morgan had a fall on the floor irritating her left shoulder, but the Fillies senior came back on the vault to nail down her spot in Saturday finals.
"It was really hard and I'm still in a lot of pain," added Morgan who used a Yurchenko pike on her one and only vault attempt. "It was one and done, and I just wanted to try my hardest."
Prospect qualified for its first state meet and the Knights got off to a solid start on the floor and vault before hitting a bit of turbulence on the final two events finishing in eighth place with 141.60 points heading into Saturday finals.
Junior Maddie Larock counted a fall on the bars, which was her second to last event, but the Knight junior ended her night on a high note by tying for sixth place on the beam (9.375) and advancing to Saturday finals.
"After bars I knew I had nothing to lose," said Larock who used a roundoff full dismount to nail down her beam performance. "I just wanted to finish strong; it definitely made me feel better."
The state meet continues on Saturday with finals in the individual events and team trophies starting at 5:45 p.m. at Palatine High School.