Girls gymnastics: Batavia edges St. Charles in season opener
Alissa Buono was recognized on Senior Night before ever competing in a high school meet.
The St. Charles co-op senior was honored before her team took on Batavia in Wednesday's DuKane Conference opener, which also served as the season opener for both squads.
It was also St. Charles co-op's lone home meet of the winter.
Buono, who joined the team this season after spending her prior years solely with her club team, won vault but Batavia outlasted the co-op, 126.2 to 124.35.
"I was out with two herniated discs in my back so I just came back a month ago," she said. "I can only do vault and bars because beam and floor are too hard on my back and I figured doing two events in high school is better than nothing at all."
Batavia, whose two seniors only competed in the JV meet, received contributions from its key returnees as well as some newcomers to earn the victory.
"For a first one, it was definitely good," Bulldogs coach Taryn Boyce said. "It was a good learning experience for the young ones, for all of them really, to get out there."
Junior Olivia Bartolotta won floor with an 8.8 and sophomore Haley Salus was best on beam with a 7.95 while junior Taylor Novotny scored a 30.8 in the all-around, second only to St. Charles co-op sophomore Sydney Kamin's 34.85.
"I was really proud of my floor and my vault was really good too," Bartolotta said. "And it was a really good start for the team. We have a lot of potential for this year and for our first meet, we did really well."
The Bulldogs unveiled their large, talented freshman class and their newcomers had their moments, including Sydney Balitewicz taking second on vault with a 9.15, Natalie Hayden placing fourth on vault with 9.05 on vault and Jackie Nelson earning third on floor with an 8.2.
"We're looking really good this season," Bartolotta said. "We're all really close and there's no drama."
While plenty of gymnasts were competing for the first time this season, some in their first high school meets and others in their first varsity one, it was also a new experience for St. Charles co-op coach Natalie Przybylski who was coaching in her first meet.
Was it as nervous as competing?
"Actually it was more exciting," she said. "It was exciting to see where the girls are at that you're training everyday and showing off what they've been doing at practice."
Kamin and Jenny Nickel are St. Charles co-op's only gymnastics that competed in the postseason last season. Nickel had three scores count toward her team's total on Wednesday, including an 8.3 on vault while Kamin won bars with a 9.4 which was undoubtedly one of the biggest highlights of the night.
"I think we did really well," Kamin said. "We have a lot of improvement to still make, but we did really solid for not having a lot of experience under our belts. I would expect that by the end of the season we'll be a very strong team and make a lot of improvement from where we are today."