Fremd best in West

By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/16/2018 11:16 PM

There was plenty of excitement at the Palatine's Mid-Suburban West girls gymnastic triangular on Tuesday night.

The host Pirates definitely excited the home crowd by opening with big performances on vault and bars.

Hoffman Estates sophomore Karli Ryan (36.35) continued her impressive season by taking first in the all-around.

But Fremd provided the biggest jolt by rallying after a shaky opening performance on the floor to earn the victory with 141.75, which secured the MSL West title for the Vikings.

Senior Melanie Ng (36.0) and junior Gianna Christodoulopoulos (35.75) were second and third in the all-around to help power Fremd.

The Vikings fell behind Palatine early and still trailed by three-tenths of a point entering the final event. But they sealed the victory with a solid beam performance.

Palatine (139.65 points) took second and Hoffman Estates (133.70) was third.

"It's exciting," said Ng of the Vikings' victory. "We've been in that situation before,. We just knew we had to pick it up."

And that's what Fremd did on vault, which was its second event.

Sophomore Sam Shirmer (9.4), Christodoulopoulos (9.3) and Ng (9.15) were second, third and fourth on vault to light the fuse for the Vikings.

"It was the best vault night we had," said Fremd coach Kacey Kronforst, whose team hit a 36.35 on vault. "It kept building and I thought our energy went through the roof. That's what we needed."

Ng kept things rolling by taking first on bars (9.6), capping her performance with a double-back dismount.

She also tied for third on floor (8.55) and added a fifth-place finish on the beam (8.7).

Shirmer aided the Vikings' score with a third-place finish on bars (9.4) and third-place tie on floor (8.55).

Christodoulopoulos (9.2) was key on the beam, the final event, in leading off with a second-place finish. The Vikings junior also finished second on the floor (8.7).

"We started off a bit shaky and we weren't happy with our scores on the floor," Christodoulopoulos said. "We knew we had to bring it back on the vault and we pulled through. It's really exciting."

Palatine rose to the occasion on the bars as senior Abby Amato (9.5) took second place. Freshman Alyssa Eckels (9.25), junior Kristen Ure (9.2) and freshman Elly Nislen (9.1) also contributed on the bars.

"It was just one routine at a time," said Amato of the Pirates' big performance on Senior Night. "The energy was great and we kind just kept building."

Senior Callee Aikman (8.85) gave Palatine a lift by winning floor exercise with Ure (9.0) adding a third-place finish on beam.

"I think we have a good team dynamic," said Amato, who saw her team battle a setback when Eckels was scratched in the final two events due to an injury. "We've been consistent this season and going forward we just have to do our best."

Ryan has made her mark this season for Hoffman Estates and continued to display her skills on Tuesday. The sophomore used a Yurchenko layout to take first on the vault (9.6) and also took first on the beam (9.4).

"I feel like I have been getting better with each meet," Ryan said. "I'm feeling good and I'm excited for the postseason."

"She has been a game-changer," said Hawks coach David Calisch. "She has a great attitude in the gym and is pulling everyone else up with her."

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