Advancing to the final meet of the season is celebration worthy, but Geneva and St. Charles co-op were looking for much more on Friday night during the 38th annual girls gymnastics state finals in Palatine.
The teams concluded the team competition neck and neck in fifth and sixth place respectively, with Geneva at 143.575 and St. Charles co-op at 143.425, but it was Vikings freshman Claire Ginsberg who stole the show.
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Ginsberg won the all-around title, becoming the first freshman to win the all-around title since Fremd's Mary Burke did it in 2005.
"I'm so proud of her," Geneva coach Kim Hostman said. "As a freshman to be as mature as she is and to perform something as difficult as gymnastics on a stage like this is outstanding."
Ginsberg has been a model of consistency all season, and she once again put forth a brilliant performance. She had a 9.35 on bars, 9.425 on beam, 9.525 on floor and 9.575 on vault.
"I wasn't too nervous," she said. "I've been in big meets before and just focused on doing my thing and came out on top. It's very exciting."
Geneva junior Megan Beitzel had a 9.6 on vault and senior Dominique Brognia scored a 9.4 on floor to advance to Saturday's event finals, where they'll join the state's all-around champion, who qualified in all four events.
"It's going to be exciting to see what can happen tomorrow," Hostman said. "We've got some new skills to put in for her and we're debating some things we can do with Megan and Dominique, so who knows."
Lyons already clinched the state title with a 150.55, well ahead of Prairie Ridge co-op's 148.825 and Fremd's 146.675.
Geneva trails fourth place Barrington's 144.3 and is barely ahead of St. Charles co-op's 143.425.
"It was a little overwhelming for us tonight, but I'm really glad with where we're still at in the standings," Hostman said. "We'll see if we can bump up our score a bit."
After seeing her teams place eighth in its two prior appearances while she's been at the helm (2008, 2013), St. Charles co-op coach Amy Lill was glad to see her team move up in the standings.
"A couple ankle injuries have caught up to the girls, which makes it even more difficult to compete," she said. "But they battled and I'm proud of my girls for sticking with it even when things got rough."
Two performances that definitely were not rough were senior Kelly Gorniak's floor exercise (9.4) and sophomore Rachel Dugan's effort on bars (9.425). Both were in the Top 10 in the standings, which will allow the two to return to Palatine on Saturday night for the individual finals.
"I've worked for this all season so this feels so great," Gorniak said. "I just had faith in myself and it went very well."
Dugan also was impressive overall, taking seventh place in the all-around with a 37.175, while Brognia finished with a 36.4 for the Vikings.
Saturday's individual championships are set to begin at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday.