Big invitational, big victory for Glenbard East
It's been a long time coming, but Glenbard East finally beat Glenbard West.
The Rams also earned a long coveted big invite girls gymnastics championship, taking home Saturday afternoon's annual Naperville North Invite title, besting the 11-team field with 142.575 points.
"It's really exciting to come out here where a lot of the scores have been comparable and to come out with the win," Rams coach Jessica Bugajsky said. "This is the first big invite we've won in my 15 years here. We've won the Hinsdale South, the first meet of the year, but the level and feel here is different."
Glenbard East was runner-up to the Hilltoppers at the Oswego Invite in late December, at last Saturday's District 87 Invite and throughout last season, despite advancing to state for the first time. The Hilltoppers won their second consecutive state title last year.
"This feels so good," Rams sophomore Becca Honig said. "We've always gotten second to other schools, and not just (Glenbard) West. We knew coming in that we had a chance. It came down to how we performed. I think we did really well."
Honig placed third in the all-around behind a second-place effort on vault, third on beam and fifth on floor. Erin Donovan tied for third on bars and was fifth on beam, Kelsey Donovan was second on floor and Kali Kartheiser was second on bars for the Rams.
The Rams became the first champion other than Glenbard West since Barrington won in 2015.
Palatine was the runner-up but still a couple points away from the Rams with a 140.375.
Sophomore Jocie Waddington, who missed a huge chunk of the season a year ago, continues to shine for the Pirates, taking second in the all-around.
"Getting hurt last year was awful, having to stop gymnastics for months," she said. "So today was pretty amazing. It's crazy, honestly."
Waddington's strong day combined with solid contributions from her teammates resulted in an impressive team score.
"I thought everything in general was pretty good," she said. "We hit floor and we almost hit vault. We had a good attitude about everything. It was just a really good team meet."
Mia Bowers and Kate Snouffer tied for seventh in the all-around with 35.625s to help Downers Grove co-op sneak past the Hilltoppers for third place 139.975 to 139.475.
"The team is really starting to find their groove and work well together nicely," Downers Grove coach Kristyn Campos said. "I am really proud of the bond they have formed and how they support each other."
Bowers won vault, took third on floor and tied for third on beam while Snouffer was fourth on floor.
Anna Diab won the all-around for the Hilltoppers and also claimed top honors on floor and bars, but the team's top finish outside of her was Brooklyn Ford tying for seventh on bars.
"We had some strong points, but we also had some weak points," Diab said. "I guess the weak ones outweigh the strong ones."
As hard as it may be to believe, even a team with such high standards and as excellent as Glenbard West may endure the occasional stumble.
"We've been working really hard and I think we'll be able to keep getting better," Diab said. "I think this is going to motivate us even more to work harder. We want to do better and not just place higher. We want to know we did good after every meet."
Prospect took fifth place with a 134.85 behind a strong day from Olivia Tadder who won beam and was fifth in the all-around.
York, which has been victimized by injuries this winter, continues to compete hard despite such adversity, taking sixth with a 131.9. Martha Miklyukh led the Dukes with a 33.275 in the all-around.
Among the final five teams, Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley co-op's Thalia Bowen and Hinsdale Central's Caroline Klobach were the only gymnasts to place. Klobach tied for third on bars and Bowen took fifth on vault.
Katie Kristle paced the host Huskies with a 32.6 as their lone all-arounder.