Girls gymnastics: Downers Grove co-op in first, Geneva third after first day of state meet
Downers Grove co-op, Vernon Hills and Geneva were even better during Friday's IHSA girls gymnastics state finals than they were during sectionals.
The Trostangs, who had the highest score during sectional week, also had the biggest leap and are now in a great position to win the first state title in program history.
Downers Grove co-op leads Vernon Hills, 145.5 to 144.9 while Geneva is in third place at 142.725.
"They definitely trained well for the meet today and we tried to put a lot in place to be just like it would be today," Trostangs coach Kristyn Campos said. "We started on beam, one of our best events, and hit their skills and it carried through the meet which I what I wanted to see."
Vernon Hills junior Annika Chudy, who took second in the all-around with 37.625 and sophomore Livy Tran, who took fourth in the all-around with 37.325, have a chance of increasing their overall team score with Tran advancing on three events and Chudy qualifying on vault and beam.
Downers Grove co-op has six additional chances.
The Trostangs scored 1.35 better than their 144.15 sectional score while the Cougars improved 0.95 from 143.95.
"We didn't want to leave it to the finals so they did what they needed to do," Campos said. "If the scores happen to go up, it's icing on the cake."
Sophomore Genevieve Herion took third in the all-around with 37.4 to lead the Trostangs. She had a 9.25 on beam, 9.275 on floor, 9.325 on bars and 9.55 on vault. She will join Libertyville senior Anna Becker as the only gymnasts to qualify in every event. Becker won the all-around with 38.175.
"It was super exciting and I just love how proud everyone was," Herion said. "Every meet it gets more fun and we become closer. It's just been amazing. When we finished on bars we were so excited and hugging each other and taking photos."
Seniors Kate Snouffer and Emily Smetana credited prior state experience as helping them keep their cool and take care of business.
Snouffer took 13th in the all-around with 36.25, advancing on beam with 9.325.
"I think being to state twice before this was useful for me," she said. "And for some of the newcomers I was able to talk to them and give them some advice on how to stay calm and remain composed."
Smetana advanced on floor with a 9.175.
"I think that I've grown in my confidence on my events and hitting my skills," she said. "We were able to manage the stress and stuff and turn it into excitement and power."
Geneva senior Sadie Karlson acknowledged that the team's start left a lot to be desired, but that the Vikings stayed tough, finishing strong to pull into third place. The Vikings scored 0.675 better than the 142.725 they had in the Hinsdale South sectional.
"I'm really proud of us because our first two events, bars and beam, are always tough to start on and we didn't score super well," she said. "It wasn't horrible, but we could've done better. But then we pulled it together for floor and vault, and literally had some of the best scores we've had, so to pull it together at state was awesome, so much fun."
Karlson and junior Graci Weems advanced to Saturday's individual finals on floor, both scoring 9.3.
"We knew we had to come back super strong," Weems said. "We just tried out hardest and apparently it worked because we're in third place."
The duo become the first Vikings to qualify for the finals on floor since Claire Rose Ginsberg, who finished second once and third twice.
"I'm really excited to be able to do floor because it's my favorite event to compete," Karlson said. "So getting to be able to compete it again is exciting."
Lake Park is in fifth with 141.375.
"I loved seeing it," Lancers coach Jake Luketin said. "It was a great performance from a talented group of young girls. On balance beam we had three freshmen hit their beam routine. To do that on this stage is awesome. It shows a lot of poise and an amazing presence."
Junior Julia Bartnik took seventh in the all-around with 36.85. She advanced on vault (9.6), beam (9.2) and floor (9.175).
Glenbard West senior Skylar Oh's resiliency and willingness put her in select company that she never imagined. The Hilltoppers needed her to fill-in on beam this season which turned her into an all-arounder. She advanced to the finals on floor (9.25) and bars (9.3) and already took ninth in the all-around with 36.6.
"I was forced to do (beam), which is not my specialty, because a lot of adversity and injuries," Oh said. "I'm proud I was able to focus and work on it. To be Top 10 in the all-around is a huge-accomplishment because I never thought I'd compete all-around so I'm glad I was able to put it together today."
Senior Sammy Hopper's 9.425 was the third-highest score on the floor exercise. She'll look to become Glenbard West's first floor champion.
"I had a good floor all year so I'm happy to be able to show it off again at state," Hopper said. "It's exciting, and I was nervous going into it."
Glenbard North's Carly Bachara was 10th in the all-around with 36.575. Fellow senior teammate Brooklyn McQuillan scored 35.95. Bachara extended her high school gymnastics experience another day with a 9.325 on beam.
Wheaton Warrenville co-op junior Haylie Hinckley was fifth in the all-around with 36.95. She vaulted 9.675 and earned 9.475 on floor to advance in those events.
Oswego co-op sophomore Sam Phillip scored a 34.75 in the all-around.
She narrowly missed advancing to the finals on vault with 9.525. A three-way tie for ninth place at 9.55 proved to be the cutoff.
"I was a little nervous coming into today but I'm proud of how I did," Phillip said. "It was really fun."
Oswego's future is bright despite that as sophomore Ava Sullivan scored an 8.95 on beam and also just missed on qualifying for the finals. She tied for 12th while the cutoff was just 8.975.
"It was very exciting and a lot of fun," Sullivan said. "It went well."