Lake Zurich is a regional champ
Kayla Bailey made her initial appearance in the IHSA state girls gymnastics series a memorable one.
The Lake Zurich junior, who is in her first season with the Bears (she previously competed in United States of America Gymnastics contests) won all four events Monday at the Barrington regional to win the all-around with a score of 37.575.
"I love it," said Bailey of the experience of competing on the Lake Zurich team. "I'm so glad I'm here."
The Bears also won the team title to move on to next Wednesday's Schaumburg sectional, posting a score of 143.55.
"We had our highest score on the vault (37.00) all season tonight," said LZ coach Chelsie Groteleuschen, "which is great for a regional event."
Bailey had a 9.70 to win the vault, took the uneven parallel bars with a 9.075, and was victorious as well in the balance beam (9.275) and the floor exercise (9.525).
"This was so much fun," added Bailey, "and I'm so proud of my teammates. We wanted to come out here tonight and do it for us. We were hoping for this (a regional victory). We had high expectations but we had to face some great competition."
Barrington scored a 140.275 to finish second, but the Fillies have to wait until later in the week to find out if they'll be one of the two at-large teams to qualify for sectionals.
But the host team already knows they'll at least have some individuals moving on after some stellar performances.
Fillies junior Jade Moranetz was second in the all-around with a 35.725, but Barrington had to compete most of the evening without one of its top gymnasts, senior Lauren Tenbrunsel, who suffered a knee injury on the floor exercise.
"It's hard to get this far and see the person who is the glue to your team go down," said Fillies coach Jason Loeffler." It did deflate the team a little bit but really everyone rallied collectively."
Junior Brooke Husby of Barrington, who was second in the vault with a 9.425, said that she didn't let the pressure of the postseason get to her.
"I just approached this meet as if it were any other meet, a dual, or a tri, "said Husby. "I went out there and had fun."
Husby said that the loss of Tenbrunsel was "devastating," but also added that, "Lauren would have wanted us to finish strong, so we knew we just had to pick it up and move on."
Elizabeth Berk of Hersey will advance to the sectional meet as an individual after putting up a fourth-place finish in the all-around (34.60), as will teammate Emma Hupp (34.20), a sophomore.
"It was pretty nerve-wracking tonight," said Berk, a freshman, "but it was also very exciting. I wasn't sure that I was going to place but I stuck with it and somehow did it. It's kind of a relief actually because now the season is not over yet, I can hang out with my friends and keep working hard."
"Elizabeth came to the team a little shy," said Huskies coach Shannon Barrett, "but in the last week or so all of her skills are coming out. She works extremely hard, she has room to grow and I'm excited to see her in sectionals. Elizabeth wasn't sure that she could do this, but I knew that she could. I just wanted to see her hit and she did."
Other scores of note Monday included a third-place finish from LZ's Joanna Topa (35.60) in the all-around, a third place result from Barrington's Sofia Rosenzweig (9.40) in the vault, second place by Kayla Moses of the Bears in the balance beam, and a runner-up place by Kelsey Rothas of LZ in the floor exercise (9.30).
Tenbrunsel completed the parallel bars before her injury and took second with a 9.00, and afterward Loeffler had tons of praise for the performance of his team.
"Ellie Marquis (a freshman) did a great for us tonight," said Loeffler. "Jade (Moranetz) is a kid you know is going to hit on the beam every time out, and Brooke (Husby) had some monster vaults."
Husby, who has been on varsity since freshman year, said that she sees her role as a team leader this season.
"I feel like I have to set a good example," said Husby, "kind of help coach the freshmen and sophomores and I think -- I'm hoping -- that I do a good job."