Girls gymnastics: Mundelein makes it 5 straight NSC titles
Mundelein kepts its grip on North Suburban Conference girls gymnastics by winning the league championship for a fifth straight year Thursday at Libertyville.
This time around it was quite a battle as the Mustangs just snuck past Stevenson, outscoring the Patriots 141.3-140.925.
Mundelein had an edge coming into the meet since it had won all the dual meets against its NSC foes during the regular season.
"Hats off to Judy Harwood and Stevenson," Mundelein coach Jesse Piland said. "She has had her Stevenson team, from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, making astronomical improvement. She's an amazing coach and a legend.
"It was awesome to beat Stevenson. What I've been telling our girls all year long is that we expect to win conference. It was expected, and it was close -- but we're not done. We need to move on from here and do better."
Lake Forest finished third at 136.875, followed by Lake Zurich (136.7), Warren (133.2) and Libertyville (130.93).
The Mustangs were led by Aubrey Kafka, who finished second in the all-around at 35.9 -- just behind the champion Kristin Fisch of Lake Forest (37.8).
Mundelein's Emma Hallin finished fourth (35.5), ahead of Lake Zurich's Joanna Topa 34.85.
Kafka also placed third on vault (9.2), third on the uneven bars (9) and third on the floor exercise (9.0). Hallin was second on the balance beam (9.2), fourth on bars (9), and fourth on floor (8.95). Elle Mishler took the fifth spot on beam (9).
"Getting second in the all-around was a big accomplishment for me, because last year I was a freshman and getting used to it," Kafka said. "Now I feel like I'm getting the hang of it, and I'm reassuring myself about what I need to do. For the team, we've been working so hard in practice and it all came together here in this meet."
Stevenson posted its best score of the season but is hoping for even better in the state series, which begins with next week's regionals.
"It was a thrill and the girls are working very hard," Harwood said after seeing her team's score. "I feel that they can go a little higher than that. Our goal all year has been to be the sixth team at the (Niles North) sectional. Now is the time to do it."
The Patriots got back Emily Weinstein for the first time since she suffered a broken ankle on Dec. 28. She placed second on bars with a 9.2, behind Lake Forest's Fisch (9.45).
"I had broken my ankle -- fractured it in practice," Weinstein said. "I've been conditioning a lot and working with the team. This was my first meet back and I felt pretty good. The cheering from the team helped a lot. I was just as nervous as I always am in competition. It was a little more nerve-wracking, but it was like it happened in the past. I thought, 'If I do things with the right form, I should be fine.' "
Hannah Brand of Stevenson finished third in the all-around (35.7). She also landed second on floor with a 9.35, behind Lake Forest's Fisch in a top score of 9.5.
Brand picked up third place on beam (9.1) and teammate Zoe Hinz was fourth (9.05). Kaylee Brady finished fifth on vault (9) and Sarina Johnson was fifth on floor (8.9).
"I had my best score on the floor," Brand said. "My tumbling felt really good and in warmups, I just pulled it back together."
Fisch also had top honors on beam with 9.25.
Julia McDevitt of Lake Zurich placed fourth on vault (9.1).
Warren's Abbie Bosko was fifth on bars (8.9), and Kylie Skie of Libertyville took fourth on floor (8.95).