Lococo, Carmel claim county victory
Carmel Catholic gymnast Sammi Lococo has competed at state the last two years. The senior performed Saturday like she's ready for another state run.
Lococo had her best meet of the season, totaling a season-best all-around score of 38.25 in leading the Corsairs to the championship of the Lake County invitational at Stevenson. Her first-place effort included top finishes on floor exercise (9.7) and balance beam (9.65).
"I just wanted come out and have fun," Lococo said. "We were actually here (Friday) supporting our JV team. We came in and envisioned everything and pictured everything. We just fed off their success."
Carmel posted a season-high 146.875, comfortably ahead of runner-up Barrington (137.45). Deerfield (135.875), Mundelein (135.55) and Stevenson (135.425) rounded out the top five in the nine-team field.
"The girls are getting back into competition mode and their confidence goes up from that," Carmel coach Nicole Stroup said. "They're really hard workers every day in the gym, and they're really close as a team. They just know how to motivate each other. They go up and want to do the best for each other, whether at practice or at a meet."
Lococo also placed second on vault (9.6), which Carmel dominated. Isabella Kropiwiec was first (9.7), Kelly Gustafson took second (9.6) and Anna Osowski finished fifth (9.05). Lococo had a second-place effort on bars (9.3), as well, and Osowski (9.1) tied for third with Barrington's Haley Nilles (9.1).
Gustafson was the runner-up on beam (9.35) and teammate Samantha Wahlers placed fifth (8.95). Wahlers was also third on floor (9.35). Osowski took the second spot in the all-around (35.75).
Nilles ended up fourth in the all-around (35.1), and her Fillies teammate Ashley Diaz chalked up fifth on bars (8.95).
"It's a very young team," Barrington coach Jason Loeffler said. "It's nice that we have a new sheet and a new team. You can mold them how you choose."
Mundelein's Taylor Shanahan, who injured her ankle in practice recently, made the most of her one event. She managed to take the top spot on bars with a 9.35.
"I just rolled it and landed on it wrong," Shanahan said. "I twisted it inward. It was on my dismount doing the bars. I've been out for a week. I'm doing whatever I can and doing strength training to get the confidence to come back for the end of the season. I don't want one injury to define my end of the season."
Mundelein's Ashley Kafka was third in the all-around (35.15) and fourth on floor (9.15).
"We want (Shanahan) healthy," Mundelein coach Jamie Brongiel said. "She wants to come back by next week. The other girls are getting more consistent too. We're getting new tricks and gaining more confidence."
Stevenson also posted its best score this season, bettering 135 for the first time. Zoe Hinz led the Patriots, placing fifth in the all-around (34.65) and third on beam (9.1).
"I think they will be a really good team," Stevenson coach Judy Harwood said. "They've been making steady progress for a while. They're finally (reaching) their potential, but they still have some ways to go."