Kauffman, Burk help Lake Zurich to New Trier Invite crown

By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/18/2021 6:10 PM

Rayna Kauffman performed with a lot of energy on her floor exercise routine on Saturday.

The Lake Zurich junior landed the top spot with a 9.325 and she earned top honors in the all-around (36.475), while AJ Burk earned first place on the balance beam (9.275) and third in the all-around (36.125).


Both played a big part in Lake Zurich's girls gymnastics team capturing first place with a 142.425 in the New Trier Holiday Invite. Stevenson settled for second (139.725), New Trier was third (138.95), Carmel Catholic fourth (137.05), Lincoln-Way co-op fifth (135.325), Hinsdale Central sixth (133.675), Fremd seventh (133.325), Geneva eighth (130.975), Maine South ninth (128.225) and Glenbard North 10th (119.5).

"It was my teammates energy and it gave me the confidence to show what I can do out there," Kauffman said. "It was definitely the music and I love dancing."

Kauffman hit a Psuk pike for a 9.25 that was good for fifth place on the vault. She also took third on the bars (9.3).

"I was like one-and-done," said Kaufmann about just taking one vault. "It was nice to get the all-around and the team win behind that too. There's been so much more improvement with our team."

"The girls set their goals on what they wanted and we were just not competing as a team," Lake Zurich coach Chelsie Grotelueschen said. "Going in, we've been nervous in the competitions lately. Before the meet on the bus I mentioned, if you want to hit your goals, we need to start now and to compete as one. We need the energy and the energy with each other. We made a plan on how we wanted to come into this meet emotionally. We went 18-for-20 with just two falls on beam. We were just hitting our gymnastics."

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Carmel's Clare Keane has been battling her way back to competing after hip surgery and now she's recovering from a pulled ligament in her foot. She did compete on the bars and had a solid routine with a second-place score of 9.325.

She's also hoping for doctor's clearance this week to start working on some other events.

"It's definitely getting better," Keane said. "It just felt amazing to go out and compete. Since the hip surgery, I really haven't competed since state in 2020. Just being out there for my team, it's a feeling a can't describe. I was surprised a bit on my score."

Maya Fergus of Stevenson chalked up the top spot on the bars with a 9.5, and third on the beam (8.9).

"Form-wise, everything felt tight, everything felt really clean," Fergus said. "I kept my head in when I was working in practice. So, improved something in that routine. Bars are actually my favorite event. It has been my strongest."

The Patriots' Ally Gitler was fourth (35.975) and Ashley Schabes (fifth) in the all-around. Schabes was third on vault (9.325), while the top vaulter was Olivia Herrera from Lincoln-Way co-op (9.425).


Schabes also placed fourth on beam (8.85). Gitler landed second on floor (9.175).

New Trier's Maria Morabito was third on the floor (9.15) and Fremd's Kacey Tokunago finished fifth (9.025). Moribito also tied with Carmel's Lilly Bruschuk for fourth on vault (9.3).

"I would say it was probably my perseverance, because I didn't have a good warmup," Tokunago said. "I had to reset before the actual meet. I was just trying to do my best. I thought the other girls before me did really well that helped out."

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