Girls gymnastics / Scouting the Hoffman Estates sectional
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Hoffman Estates High School
Automatic team qualifiers: Prairie Ridge (151.30), Maine South (147.275), Fremd (144.45), and Conant (139.825).
At-large team qualifiers: Barrington (141.375), Palatine (139.525).
What you need to know: The sectional team champion and the top five gymnasts in each event, including all-around, automatically advance as ranked qualifiers to the state meet at Palatine High School, on Febr. 16 and 17. Four at-large berths will be awarded to the teams with highest sectional marks that were not sectional champions. There will also be 12-at-large qualifiers for all the events, including all-around.
Outlook: Three -time defending state champion Prairie Ridge co-op made quite a statement in winning the Hersey regional with a team record 151.3. The score was the highest regional mark in the state series and gives the Wolves plenty of momentum entering the Hoffman Estates sectional, where they hope to earn their sixth straight sectional title. Only five girls cracked the 37.0 mark in the all-around in the four regionals that fed into the Hoffman Estates sectional, and Prairie Ridge co-op had four them, led by junior Clancy Raupp (37.90) and junior Maddy Kim (37.875). Maine South also hit a solid mark in winning its own regional and will be in the mix for a state berth. Junior Caleigh Pistorius powers the Hawks. Fremd is looking to return to the state meet after a one-year absence and the Vikings will lean heavily senior on twin anchors Melanie Ng and Abby Moran. Ng is on a roll, having secured the Mid-Suburban League and regional all-around titles, while Moran seems to have found her comfort zone on the beam. Barrington has definitely been a surprise, especially after hitting a season-high 141.375 at the Maine South regional. Fillies sophomore Lauren Tenbrunsel has been leading the way and had a very impressive performance on beam (9.475), while junior Sarah Ruesch has been a force on vault. Conant nipped Palatine for the regional title by 3-tenths of a point. Both the Cougars and Pirates left a few points off the board and both will be looking to improve their score Wednesday. Sophomore Kennedy O'Connor is covering a lot for Conant, while senior Abby Amato and freshman Alyssa Eckels will push the Pirates attack.
Individuals: Schaumburg senior Mikayla Vogt seems to be peaking at the right time for the Saxons after securing first-place finishes on vault (9.525) and floor (9.525) at the Fremd regional. Hersey senior Mackenzie Kamysz also had strong regional performance, especially on bars (9.375) and floor (9.425). Prospect freshman Olivia Tader has been a pleasant surprise this season and helped to power the Knights to a season-best (138.10) at the Maine South regional. Also keep an eye on Rolling Meadows' Nicole Kane. The sophomore went out with a broken left tibula in early December but since returning has taken first on bars at the MSL meet, followed by a third-place finish at regionals. Kane is seeking a second consecutive state appearance
MIA: Hoffman Estates' Karli Ryan made a huge impact for the Hawks this season, but will miss the sectional due to an ACL injury. The Hawks sophomore had already captured a first-place finish on vault (9.7) at the Palatine regional and was finishing a first-place beam performance when she heard a pop on her dismount landing. The injury cuts short an impressive debut high school season.
Number games: The cut-off for the at-large teams for the state meet is prone to volatility and will not be certain until the final sectional at Lake Park is completed on Thursday. But the average for the state cut-off the past three seasons has been 144.175.
-- Michael Eaken