One thing Stevenson wanted to do in the girls gymnastics state series was reach the sectional. The Patriots have been showing signs of improvement and getting healthy at the right time.
Stevenson posted its best score of the season Thursday night in the Glenbrook South regional, a 142.65. That puts the Patriots in the top at-large spot ahead of Glenbrook North (141.55). Mundelein (141.125) dropped out of qualifying as a team for next Tuesday's Niles North sectional since only two at-large spots are available.
Host Glenbrook South won the regional championship with the best score of all the regionals, 147.85. The other teams that qualified for state earlier in the week are New Trier (147.6), Carmel (144.75) and Deerfield (142.425).
"It's really exciting," Stevenson coach Judy Harwood said. "The girls on the bus said they really need to do it. From the beginning, that was a major goal. I felt we were in a different meet. I thought we were competing against Mundelein and it was a separate competition."
Stevenson's Emily Weinstein competed in all four events after she performed only on bars in the North Suburban Conference meet last Thursday. She has been recovering from a broken ankle around the holiday break.
"I think she had only a few days off real practice since she was cleared to come back," Harwood said. "But she's the kind of athlete that has so much talent and can perform right away."
Weinstein had her best event on balance beam, earning a winning 9325. She finished fifth in the all-around (35.9).
"It felt good and the ankle doesn't really hurt," Weinstein said. "I'm not thinking about my foot because I'm not going to worry about something. I was thinking about what I can do and what we can do as a team."
Her effort on beam was a big reason why the Patriots advanced.
"This was more about helping my team," Weinstein said. "I really didn't help them as much in the other events. I just wanted to do well. Everyone was doing so good. We knew we could get our highest team score. I just wanted to be a part of it."
Stevenson's Hannah Brand picked up fourth in the all-around (35.95). She also tied Glenbrook South's Sydney Wills for third on vault (9.325), placed fourth on beam (9.075) and tied for fifth on floor with Glenbrook South's Elena Pauker (8.9).
Stevenson junior Sarina Johnson qualified on vault (fifth, 9.225), while Jenna Hartley of Glenbrook South had the top vault (9.8). Johnson had a fourth-place finish on floor exercise (8.95).
"It's crazy and fun for my first year," said Johnson, a first-year high school gymnast who landed her Yurchenko tuck vault. "It's a whole new world in high school gymnastics. I came in pretty nervous and also came in pretty excited. I wanted to do the best for my team because I knew it was important to move on this competition."
Stevenson's Zoe Hinz placed fifth on beam (8.975) to qualify for sectional.
Hartley earned top honors in the all-around (37.775) and on floor (9.525), was second on bars (9.3) and third on beam (9.150). Her teammate Sheena Graham chalked up first place on bars (9.55).