Vernon Hills making noise at state finals; Stevenson's Schabes 3rd in all-around

  • Vernon Hill's Annika Chudy celebrates her performance on the vault during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday at Palatine High School.

      Vernon Hill's Annika Chudy celebrates her performance on the vault during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Ashley Schabes competes on the balance beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday at Palatine High School.

      Stevenson's Ashley Schabes competes on the balance beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel's Nina Kropiwiec competes in the vault during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Carmel's Nina Kropiwiec competes in the vault during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Vernon Hills' Becca Tran competes on the beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Vernon Hills' Becca Tran competes on the beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Vernon Hills' Becca Tran competes on the beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Vernon Hills' Becca Tran competes on the beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Warren's Amanda Hamann competes on the uneven parallel bars during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Warren's Amanda Hamann competes on the uneven parallel bars during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Warren's Amanda Hamann competes on the uneven parallel bars during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Warren's Amanda Hamann competes on the uneven parallel bars during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Rayna Kauffman competes in the floor exercise during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Lake Zurich's Rayna Kauffman competes in the floor exercise during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Rayna Kauffman competes in the floor exercise during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Lake Zurich's Rayna Kauffman competes in the floor exercise during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel's Nina Kropiwiec competes on the uneven parallel bars during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Carmel's Nina Kropiwiec competes on the uneven parallel bars during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel's Nina Kropiwiec competes on the uneven parallel bars during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Carmel's Nina Kropiwiec competes on the uneven parallel bars during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Vernon Hill's Annika Chudy competes in the floor exercise during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Vernon Hill's Annika Chudy competes in the floor exercise during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/18/2022 8:22 PM

It has been 20 years since Vernon Hills has been to the girls' state gymnastics finals. And the Cougars are making the most of it.

Vernon Hills is currently in second place after Friday's individual qualifying and all-around competition as the state finals returned to Palatine after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

 

Vernon Hills, which was fifth in 2002, scored a 146.475 thanks to its quartet of all-arounders.

The Cougars, who were led by Annika Chudy's fifth-place finish in the all-around with a 37.325 and Shihori Takenaka, who was sixth in the all-around with a 37.20. Becca Tran was 25th in the all-around with a 35.95 while Livy Tran, who qualified for Saturday's finals on vault, was 27th in the all-around with a 35.80.

Chudy also qualified for the individual finals is the bars and beam while Takenaka qualified on the beam.

"I think we had some nerves in the beginning," Vernon Hills coach Denise Caton said. "It has been such a hit to be here as a team. It is really exciting that we have a chance to get a trophy."

Vernon Hills trails Prairie Ridge, which tallied 147.90. Vernon Hills is also just ahead of DeKalb, which is third with a 146.30. Teams can add to their scores during Saturday's individual finals.

Lake County had three other teams at the finals. Carmel is currently fifth with 144.60, Stevenson is sixth with a 143.50, while Lake Zurich is seventh with a 143.35.

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Carmel, which is making its sixth consecutive appearance in the state finals had their best meet of the season.

"Our girls shined bright today," Carmel coach Sarah Mikrut Doyle said. "To be back after last year, it really meant more to us. We are just happy. I was jumping around."

Clare Keane was 23rd in the all-around with a 36.025 for the Corsairs. Sarah Arends was 24th with a 35.975 while Nina Kropiwiec was 35th with a 34.475. Keane also qualified for the finals in the bars and the beam.

Stevenson was back at the state finals for the first time in 10 years. The Patriots had to overcome an injury to Maya Ferguson, who was injured during warmups.

"This is one of my nicest teams ever," said Stevenson coach Judy Harwood, who has been coaching the Patriots since 1991.

"It is a special bunch. It was hard for the team when Maya got hurt, but they really stepped up."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Ashley Schabes came up huge for the Patriots. The junior finished third in the all-around with a 37.70. She also qualified for the individual finals in the vault and the floor.

"It was best meet of the year for me by far," said Schabes, who finished behind Prairie Ridge's Grace Willis and DeKalb's Madeline Kees, who tied for the all-around title with a 37.80.

"I have been practicing really hard this year. I think that everything came together at the perfect time."

Stevenson's Ally Gitler qualified in the bars and the floor.

Lake Zurich was making its second consecutive appearance at the finals. The Bears were led by Ranya Kauffman, who was 29th in the all-around with a 35.625. She also qualified for the finals in the vault while Mia McHugh, Angela Burk and Gianna Mirabella also came up big for Lake Zurich.

"Our team is so special to be here," Lake Zurich coach Chelsie Groteleuschen said. "To make it as a team is such an amazing thing."

Libertyville's Anna Becker qualified in the vault with the top score of a 9.725. She also qualified on the beam and finished 18th in the all-around with a 36.275.

Warren's Amanda Hamann qualified on the beam and was 21st in the all-around with a 36.05.

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