Girls gymnastics: Scouting Fox and DuPage County

Here's a look at what to expect for DuPage and Fox girls gymnastics teams this winter.

Top returning teams: Downers Grove co-op, Geneva, Glenbard West, Naperville North, Prairie Ridge co-op,

Top returning athletes: Addison Trai - (Maddie Muccianti, Sr., all-around); Downers Grove co-op - (Kate Snouffer, Sr. all-around), (Emily Smetana, Sr., all-around); Geneva - (Brooke Lussnig, Jr., all-around), (Graci Weems, Jr., all-around); Glenbard North - (Brooklyn McQuillan, Sr., all-around); Glenbard South (Brooke Poltrock, Sr., all-around); Glenbard West - (Samantha Hopper, Sr., all-around), (Skylar Oh, Sr., all-around); Naperville North - (Abby Aldrich, Sr., all-around); Prairie Ridge co-op - (Gabriella Riley, Sr., all-around); St. Charles co-op - (Rachel Nicastro, So., all-around); Wheaton co-op - (Haylie Hinckley, Jr., all-around); Willowbrook - (Sarah Ball, Sr., all-around)

Season outlook: Addison Trail welcomes back senior Maddie Muccianti, juniors Nicolette Franczak and Brooke Greaves and sophomore Olivia DeBeau to a team that ended with a 124.9 at the Lake Park regional last year. Freshmen Michelena Fricano and Gabby Trejo join the squad and will look to help the team move up in the West Suburban Gold.

Batavia has a lot of experience and talent returning along with 10 freshmen among a dozen newcomers, including all-arounders such as freshman Wynne Tien, junior Delia Fulton and senior Talia Gallas. They'll mix in spots with returning seniors Kathleen Flaherty and Grace Cooper and junior Marisa Sepico who is battling back from tearing her ACL on Senior Night last year.

Downers Grove co-op has a lot of experienced talent along with some exciting new athletes in the gym, including sophomore Genevieve Herion and freshmen Kaeyln Landry, Emilie Kuchta, Lauren Deacy and Natalie Martin. They'll look to make the final season for seniors Natalie Simpson, Emily Smetana and Kate Snouffer a special one. Smetana and Snouffer were individual state qualifiers last year that also helped the team take 8th in the state.

Fenton has eliminated its girls gymnastics team as well as its boys team for the spring.

Geneva hit 140 last year and with junior all-arounders Graci Weems and Brooke Lussnig returning, the Vikings have the talent to be one of the better teams in the state. Sophomore Emma Wiedenhoeft made an impact in her debut and will look to continue to do while freshmen Annie Fellinger and Reese Lacky will look for strong debuts. Junior Maeve Devlin and seniors Maura Anderson and Sadie Karlson also will contribute scores for a Vikings program that last qualified for state in 2015 when they took second overall.

Glenbard East has a small team this year so coach Jessica Bugajsky said "our goal is to do our best and work on putting in new skills into our routines and fine tuning what we have to improve as the season goes on." Juniors Oliva Broyles and Emma Iwaniszyn and senior Ella Kud return to lead the Rams while sophomore Dalia Daoud and junior Ashley Macias join the squad.

Glenbard North has one of the top all-arounders in the state in Brooklyn McQuillan, a veteran, upbeat leader in fourth-year gymnast Valeria Herrera, a former club kid in senior Carly Bachara who ideally will have a great experience with high school gymnastics and a mix of others, including Vassilisa Andreeva returning for what should be an exciting season. "We may be able to sneak into a sectional this year," Panthers coach Dennis Wellman said.

Glenbard South's gymnasts boast a skill set that Coach Lee Wood hasn't seen at the Glen Ellyn school so the Raiders are thrilled heading into the new campaign. Senior Brooke Poltrock is back along with junior all-arounders Skylar Fischer and Bella Krabec. The Raiders added five athletes, including freshman Ava Blalock and junior Abby DePorter, both all-arounders.

Glenbard West is celebrating its 50th year of gymnastics and will look to continue its tradition of excellence with two state titles in the past five years and a fourth-place finish last February. Seniors Brooklyn Ford, Samantha Hopper, Skylar Oh and Autumn White are back to lead the way along with sophomores Grace Flint and Leah Chapski while a few newcomers, including freshman Mackenzie Mason, sophomore Talia Haq and junior Annika Bhagwakar, will certainly vie to add to the team's score.

Kaneland senior Olivia Kerrins helped start the program for the Knights and despite an assortment of injuries, she's fought her way back to lead the team this winter. The Knights added sophomore Kennedi Reed and junior Caylee Rehkopf while juniors Alina Dabek and Kaci Randall and senior Hailey Leonard return for a close-knit team. The Knights will aim to spread positivity through the sport to keep new programs like its own running.

Lake Park will be young with only one senior and 17 freshmen added to the program. Juniors Julia Bartnik, Cali Keefe and Alisia Gnutek step into leadership roles for a team that has won the DuKane Conference three straight years. Sophomore Maddie Springer and freshmen Ava Bullington, Cristina Benza and Olivia Dziuba are among the talented newcomers who will look to sustain the Lancers success this winter.

Naperville Central added 11 gymnasts this season, including freshman all-arounders Avani Prasad and Harley Sambrooks. Those two and others will look to contribute immediately along with junior Gaby Tapia and sophomore Alana Williams who return to lead a young Redhawks squad.

Naperville North will be an interesting team to watch come together. Senior Abby Aldrich will lead the way, sophomores Samarra Connolly and Erin Arnold are looking to step up after working hard in the off-season, while freshmen Kate Ahlfeld and Kelly Melnikoff will bring a new look and contribute scores as talented new all-arounders.

Prairie Ridge co-op is not only looking to defend its state title but the program is pursuing its sixth state title since 2015. Gracie Willis may have graduated, but the program continues to find tremendous athletes to replace seemingly irreplaceable gymnasts. They'll have to do that again. Senior Gabriella Riley returns to lead a squad that has to replace the scores of Willis, who graduated, along with state qualifiers, Thea Scheuer, Audrey Burke and Paige Magel, who didn't return. Freshmen Montserrat Garcia, Michelle Miniewicz and Addison Nabielec, sophomores Maria Kakis, Zoe Kennedy, Lily Letak and Alexis Valley, juniors Anna D'Antonio and Sophia Mercieri and seniors Delaney Wells and Eva Yentsch are among 11 other gymnasts that will have a chance to contribute to the team's continued success.

St. Charles co-op may be young, but the team is talented and certainly improved from where it left off. All-arounders Rachel Nicastro and Emily Johnson are just sophomores but made a big impact a season ago. Sophomore specialist Izzi Othon returns in two events while freshmen Arianna Halick and Brooke Benton and senior Lucy Brutlag join the squad and new head coach Tom Wirth, who has served as an assistant the past 13 years.

The U-46 co-op has junior Brynn Kerber and senior Mia Lis back as all-around anchors. "We are looking forward to hopefully making it back to sectionals this year," Coach Melissa Baylian said. "Brynn and Mia have a great chance of making it again, and hope to qualify for state!" Sophomore Avery Hunt, juniors Julia Prorok, Maya Nail and Ashley Simko and senior Illiana Prado will contribute as specialists while sophomore all-arounder Elissa Callender-Springer is a welcome newcomer.

Valley co-op is the combination of the former Neuqua Valley team with the Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley co-op. Freshman Lucia Caruso's scores should make an impact along with returning juniors Hailey Mitchell and Xara Gin and seniors Lauren Cordero and Stephanie Svec. Coach Katie Novorolsky said the team has "a lot" of new kids.

Wheaton co-op will rely heavily on three-sport athlete Haylie Hinckley but will need to pick up some new scorers around her this winter. "We are looking to fill some spots in our lineup but plan to stay competitive throughout the season," Wheaton coach Maureen Kermend said. Junior Jordan Wach returns in the all-around while freshman Abbey Kurinski is expected to contribute on beam and bars.

Willowbrook coach Andy Isaacson is in his 42nd year coaching and his enthusiasm hasn't waned. "The attitude of this team and especially the lower levels is amazing," he said. "This team will work to improve daily and give their best effort." Junior Mia McBride, who is returning from an injury," is back along with seniors Sarah Ball, Hanna Mitrick and Molly Morris while 7 newcomers are expected to contribute.

York welcomes back Ashley Samata as its new coach. Samata competed for the Dukes from 2004-2005. She is hoping for a smooth transition with about a dozen new kids joining the program as well, including sophomore Elaine Blass and freshmen Nora Heflin, Josephine Fedorak and Zahra Master. Senior specialist Sharonne Chakravarti, junior Daniella Chavez and sophomores Hayley Schiltz and Mia Carone return.

  Downers Grove South's Emily Smetana is one of the area's top returning gymnasts. Brian Hill/
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