A positive day for Glenbard East
Glenbard East had plenty to be positive about.
Scoring a school-record 145.5 points, the Rams edged DeKalb/Sycamore co-op's 145.3 to win the Upstate Eight Conference meet on Saturday at Glenbard South.
It's believed to be the first time Glenbard East has won a girls gymnastics conference championship. While the Rams finished 5-1 in the regular season to DeKalb/Sycamore co-op's 6-0 record in dual meets, they earned the conference championship with 13 points to DeKalb/Sycamore's 11 points based on a combination of dual and conference meet points.
"Today as a team we performed really, really, really well," the Rams' Kelsey Donovan said. "What really helped us was the positive energy we had throughout the whole meet. It never ended. When we were positive to each other, comforting each other and rooting and cheering for each other, it helped us a lot."
The afternoon was overflowing with positivity and fantastic gymnastics, and not only from the Rams. The Barbs, state runner-up twice in the past three years, scored a season high in points.
DeKalb/Sycamore finished on beam and had a chance to catch the Rams with an excellent finish, but despite Madison Hickey winning the event with a 9.55, they also were forced to count a pair of falls.
"It seems like everyone's score is going up, so it's going to be an exciting next couple of weeks," Barbs coach Andy Morreale said. "I think that was maybe (Glenbard East's) max and they had a great meet actually."
Donovan's slip on beam really was the only big boo-boo on a near perfect and record-breaking day for the Rams.
"We had the meet of our year and hit almost every routine," Rams coach Jessica Bugajsky said. "They did a great job and got what they've worked so hard for."
Finally beating DeKalb/Sycamore, a seemingly Herculean task, took that kind of performance.
"Our goal all season has been to hope to be able to beat DeKalb, but they've always been a little bit better than us," Bugajsky said. "We worked really hard. We put in a few new things today to see if it would help our team score and it really worked out for us."
Glenbard East used all of Kali Kartheiser's 36.7 all-around score as well as Rebecca Honig's 36.35 to get its team total. Kelsey Donovan delivered a 35.7 in the all-around but the team didn't use her beam score. Sierra Olson added key scores on beam, floor and vault while Erin Donovan did the same on bars and beam.
"I thought throughout the meet each routine was building off of each other," Rams senior Sydney Nasternak said. "As more people were going, we were getting more confident through each routine."
Obviously, the tone had been set in all the prior meets and practices leading up to this big one.
"I think we felt better as a team today than ever," Kartheiser said. "We've been practicing really hard, doing a bunch of routines over and over and doing pressure routines to make sure we were ready for when we went out and did it today, and it showed."
Now the Rams have the challenge of refocusing on the postseason after enjoying this one for a little bit.
"I think we go back to practice and just keep working hard," Olson said. "Yes, we did good tonight, but we know the hardest is still to come and we have a lot of hard work still ahead of us, but we're going to celebrate tonight."
Other local teams who competed included U-46 co-op, which was fifth with a 120.25, and host Glenbard South, which edged Fenton 105.425 to 105.25.
The only top 10 finisher among those three schools was U-46's Alison Bucaro, who took ninth on vault with an 8.95. Gianna Murkowski led the squad in the all-around with a 32.275.
Glenbard South senior Katie Kibbey was 15th in the all-around with a 29.45 and left content with competing at home one final time.
"I had a lot of fun and everyone did really well today," she said. "I was happy to have one last home meet to give it my all."
Emily Trzmielewski led the Bison in the all-around with a 28.875.