Girls gymnastics: Carmel eases into season-opening win at Rolling Meadows

 
By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/3/2016 5:52 PM
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  • Carmel's Samantha Wahlers competes on the balance beam during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday.

      Carmel's Samantha Wahlers competes on the balance beam during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Park's Katie Fetter competes on the balance beam during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday.

      Lake Park's Katie Fetter competes on the balance beam during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Mariana Vazquez-Rosas competes on the balance beam during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday.

      Conant's Mariana Vazquez-Rosas competes on the balance beam during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Mel Meyrick competes on the floor exercise during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday.

      Conant's Mel Meyrick competes on the floor exercise during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel Catholic's Alyssa Legarreta competes on the balance beam during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday.

      Carmel Catholic's Alyssa Legarreta competes on the balance beam during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington's Alana Riemenschneider competes on the balance beam during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday.

      Barrington's Alana Riemenschneider competes on the balance beam during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Buffalo Grove's Melanie Goldfarb competes on the balance beam during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday.

      Buffalo Grove's Melanie Goldfarb competes on the balance beam during the Rolling Meadows invitational Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Carmel Catholic gymnast Colleen Kadowaki said that the Corsairs had "no expectations" coming in to Saturday's Al Galatte Invitational at Rolling Meadows.

"We've been rallying around each other so far this season," said the senior captain. "We wanted to come out today, get some experience, and take it nice and easy."

Well, as they say, nice and easy works every time, as the Corsairs took home the team trophy at Meadows with a winning mark of 69.85, just .70 ahead of Lincoln Way Co-Op (69.15).

Deerfield finished third at 66.60, while Oak Park-River Forest (65.65) was fourth and Lake Park (65.60) took 5th.

"I'm so excited to see what this season brings," added Kadowaki, after the Corsairs finished 3rd in state last year. "We support each other, and that's important because when you do that, you do well."

Barrington senior Hayley Nilles, who competes on the uneven bars, said that her team was off to a "rocky" start this year after a, well, uneven performance in their first performance in a dual meet versus Elk Grove.

But the Fillies had no such problems Saturday, especially Nilles, who won the uneven bars event with a score of 9.250.

The Barrington team was sixth at 64.85.

"This was a good meet," said Nilles, who is a four-year varsity competitor. "It's a little different feeling for us this year because we lost a lot of girls to graduation, and we're still learning -- but it's all good."

Fillies sophomore Sarah Ruesch, competiting in her first major prep tournament, scored a second-place finish on vault with a mark of 9.100.

"I was a little nervous," said Ruesch, "but I was able to focus on my event, and it helped to have my teammates supporting me and cheering for me. That was awesome."

Nicole Kane of the host Mustangs, a freshman, made her tourney debut a spectacular one by finishing as runner-up on uneven bars.

Kane said that it was important to her that her first tourney experience came on her home floor.

"All the students were out here, cheering us on, and it was great to get that kind of support from the crowd."

"There were a few nerves," added Kane, "but I knew that if I could come out here and do what I've done before, I could do well."

The Mustangs finished in eighth place as a team, Conant grabbed ninth and Stevenson finished in 10th position.

"I thought we did a good job today," said Sophie Whiting of the Patriots. "This will give us a lot of confidence for the rest of the year."

Una Farrell of Lincoln-Way Co-Op won the vault, Alexandra Michalak from Glenbrook North was the winner on the balance beam and Sammi Lococo, a former state qualifier from Carmel, finished first on the floor exercise with a score of 9.600.

"What a great start to the season," said Lococo. "We put in a lot of hard work over the summer, and it's important to come out and see that hard work put into action."

"This (the Galatte Invite) is a very team-oriented event, and although we had a few jitters today, everyone knew that they had their teammates behind them. It's nice to start out with a win."

Daniella Pellegrino excelled for Lake Park with a third-place finish in the floor exercise, while Mikayla Vogt of Schaumburg tied for fourth in the event, and Mel Meyrick of Conant tied for sixth.

Jane Williams from Propsect took fifth on balance beam, Teresa Riles of Buffalo Grove earned a fifth-place finish on uneven bars, and Abigail Fuscone of Hoffman Estates posted a 12th-place finish on vault.

For the winning Corsairs, Samantha Wahlers contributed by placing second on balance beam at 8.950; Alyssa Legarreta was fourth in the same event and Anna Osowski (8.900) took third overall on the uneven bars.

"How great to get a win the first time out," said Carmel coach Nicole Stroup of the early-season statement victory. "The girls were very excited to get the meet season underway."

"It was fun to see the whole team come together today," added Stroup. "This is the first time in four years that a good chunk of our roster are seniors (the Corsairs have 6), and they're making life easy on me, that's for sure."

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