The future is bright for Neuqua Valley and Naperville North.
While host Hinsdale Central breezed to victory in Tuesday's girls gymnastics regional, the young Wildcats and Huskies showed that their teams are on the upswing.
The Red Devils scored 142.775 while the runner-up Wildcats scored a 135.675 and the Huskies followed with a 132.15.
"We started the season at around a 131 or a little lower but have been picking it up the last few meets," Neuqua Valley coach Kathleen Novorlosky said. "We did have one score higher than today, but this was definitely the best performance we've had. Everyone hit and we had three automatic qualifiers."
Neuqua Valley freshman Jane Riehs placed second in the all-around and won first place in the floor exercise. She also graced the award stand by taking second on bars, third on beam and fourth on vault to complete a cycle of sorts.
"I love my team and we laid it all out on the floor tonight," she said. "It's postseason now, so we went out and did our thing. Hitting beam was so big, and our vault scores were higher than they were at conference."
Another Wildcats freshman, Baylee Modaff, was fourth in the all-around and second on beam, while junior Olivia Nelson took sixth on all-around. She will wait until Thursday night to see if she advances to the sectional via an at-large bid. She already qualified on beam by taking fourth place.
Despite being so young the Wildcats persevered like they had been in this position before even, though its top two gymnasts hadn't.
"I think they put a lot of pressure on themselves (on Monday) in practice and really pushed hard," Novorlosky said. "I think today they were just ready. They hit everything. It definitely was their best performance."
Naperville North coach Chris Stanicek's lineup featured five all-arounders and all underclassmen.
Freshman Kelsey Sumser led the Huskies, taking third in the all-around as well as third on bars and fifth on floor.
"This was a really, really fun meet this time," she said. "Even though I had some mistakes I loved being out here with my team."
Sophomore Chloe Tsao took fifth to snag the final automatic all-arounder qualifier for the sectional and will join Sumser in Orland Park.
"I'm excited to go with Chloe," Sumser said. "We've been working even harder in the gym trying to add in more skills to our routines to make our skills higher and encouraging each other."
Sophomores Emma Ryan, Gwen Stalwell and Ellie Lieberman also had busy nights in all four events for the Huskies.
"We wanted to keep the momentum going into this from conference, but we had some problems and issues tonight," Stanicek said. "Beam wasn't our best and floor didn't go the way we wanted, but we got a couple girls through, which is always a plus."
The regional champion Red Devils were also led by a freshman; Kiara Harrast won the all-around, bars and beam. She certainly got some help from her seniors as seven of them saw action, including Amanda Leon, who won vault and was second on floor.