There is a bit of excitement brewing for the Buffalo Grove girls gymnastics team and the sophomore duo of Madison Morelli and Dagmara Sobolak have been a big part of it.
The BG pair were at it again on Saturday giving their team a big lift, especially on bars, in powering the Bison to the title at Prospect Invitational with 134.15 points.
Host Prospect was not far behind, taking second with 133.55 points, followed by Rolling Meadows (131.75), Elk Grove (130.225), and Schaumburg (130.10).
Prospect nipped BG by three-tenths of a point on Wednesday at a Mid-Suburban League triangular meet, but the Bison were able to avenge that defeat on Saturday.
"It's huge," said Buffalo Grove coach Stephanie Schrader, whose team was without senior Kara Tyner. "We had other girls step up and I feel like we are getting stronger going into the postseason."
Sobolak (9.4) and Morelli (9.2) set the tone for the Bison on their opening event by going 1-2 on the bars and then grinded out the final three events to earn the victory.
"We have come a long way since the beginning of the season and we're improving every meet," said Sobolak, who is rounding into form after being sidelined early in the season due to a concussion.
Sobolak also contributed a second-place finish on the floor (9.0) and finished fourth in the all-around (34.25).
Morelli has also been a big part of the Bison attack coming back from an ACL injury that put a drag on her freshman season.
Morelli tied for third on the vault (8.5), added a fifth-place finish on floor (8.75), and finished third in the all-around (34.45).
"I'm really happy," said Morelli of her team's performance. "We were so close on Wednesday, so it feels good to get the victory."
Senior Hannah Lim (8.5) tied for third on the vault while freshman Hannah Greenspan (32.725) and senior Emily Ruby (32.45) went 6-8 in the all-around to support the Bison's attack.
Prospect was without one of its top scorers with freshman Olivia Tader sitting out due to an illness, but the Knights were nipping at the Bison's heels all night thanks to the powerful duo of senior Rosie Barros (35.60) and sophomore Jill Schmit (34.60), who went 1-2 in the all-around.
"It was very close," said Prospect coach Bridget Erickson, whose team had a big bar and beam performance to key its attack. "We've been trying to put everything together and the girls have been turning it on."
Barros had a special night in taking first on the beam (9.25), adding a third-place finish on floor (8.9), and contributing a fourth-place finish on bars (9.1) to go along with her all-around title.
"I'm really excited," added Barros. "I was just trying to put out everything I had and do my best. We all have been working really hard to get where we are."
Schmit did her part by adding a pair of third place finishes on vault (8.5) and beam (9.1) and a fifth-place finish on bars (8.8).
"We were trying our best to win, but without Olivia it was really tough," said Schmit of the Knights' attack. "We just focused on staying tight and doing our best."
Schaumburg senior Mikayla Vogt turned in a pretty nifty performance to power the Saxons' attack.
The defending MSL beam champion was entered in three events and made them count. Vogt started her night by taking first on the vault (9.15) and ended her night by taking first on the floor (9.3). In between she added a second-place finish on the beam (9.2).
"I'm peaking at the right time," said Vogt, who is coming off a November back injury that slowed her progress early. "I'm feeling healthy and I'm more confident this year. The team has been great."
Rolling Meadows sophomore Nicole Kane is also back in the flow after suffering a fractured left fibula in an early-season dual meet.
Kane, who was a state qualifier on bars last season, took third on bars (9.15) on Saturday.
"I was feeling nervous, but it was great to be competing again," said Kane. "I didn't know if I could handle my dismount, but I landed it. It felt good."
Sophomore Jenna Byrnes, who has been anchoring the Mustangs' attack in Kane's absence contributed a fifth-place finish on beam (8.55) and sixth place finish on bars (8.55) in taking fifth in the all-around (33.80).
Elk Grove's attack was littered with some key performances including a second-place finish on vault by sophomore Katie Talens (8.8), a pair of fourth place finishes by junior Jess Hadler (8.75) on beam and junior Jill Valente (8.8) on floor. Junior Anna Sprenger (8.45) also added a sixth-place finish on vault.
"We are getting stronger as a team," added Valente. "We are really close and have a strong bond."
Fremd Invitational: The Fremd girls gymnastics team took another step forward on Saturday at their own Mari-Rae Sopper Invitational in Palatine.
Junior Gianna Christodoulopoulos (36.10) and senior Melanie Ng (36.10) tied for 10th in the all-around in powering the Vikings to a third-place finish with a season high score of 142.75.
"We're feeling pretty good about our performance," said Fremd coach Kacey Kronforst of the Vikings' attack. "We're bunching it up a little bit more -- baby steps."
Glenbard West was very impressive in cruising to the team title with 149.8 points. Anna Diab (37.85), Maddie Diab (37.60), and Taylor Ramirez (37.475) went 1-2-3 in the all-around in powering the Hilltoppers' attack.
The Hilltoppers also swept all four of the individual events with Maddie Diab taking first on the vault (9.75) and floor (9.8), Anna Diab taking first on beam (9.65), and Maia Lee adding a first place finish on bars (9.45).
New Trier took second with 146.75 points, with St. Charles co-op (140.85) taking fourth place, followed by Palatine (138.45).
Ng took fifth place on bars (9.25) to help pace Fremd, while sophomore Sam Shirmer (9.1) looked strong on vault. Senior Ellyce Wong (9.2) and senior Abby Moran (9.15) aided the Vikings' attack on beam, with Christodoulopoulos adding a seventh place finish on floor (9.35).
"We're building more confidence," added Christodoulopoulos, "We didn't have our best night, but we are still increasing our score."
Senior Abby Amato (35.5) and freshman Alyssa Eckels (35.4) gave Palatine a nice boost by finishing 12-13 in the all-around.
Eckels tied for fifth on the floor (9.4) and had a strong vault (9.1)
"We had a good meet overall, but there are still some things we can improve on," said Amato. "We're doing well as a team and we have been pretty consistent, so we are excited to see what we can do going forward."