The Carmel girls gymnastic team’s bid to win a fourth consecutive state title came to an end at the Stevenson Sectional Feb. 7.
New Trier won with 144.4 points to automatically qualify for state, while the Corsairs were nipped 142.45-142.425 by Lake Forest for the final at-large team qualifier.
“There were definitely things we wish we could change,” Carmel coach Nicole Gluzinski said. “We came into [the] sectional knowing that we were going to have to go 4-for-4 on vault and floor because our freshman (Antonia Durnill) hurt her toe and couldn’t do anything more than floor and beam. That put devastating pressure on us.”
Senior Lauren Feely won the all-around with a 38.175. She’ll look to improve on a fifth-place finish a season ago. Sarah Cohen-Smith also advanced in the all-around and will look to defend her vault title (Feely will attempt to do the same on beam). Senior Kari Osowski also advanced on beam (9.075).
Unfortunately for Carmel, mistakes on bars and beam might have cost the Corsairs an opportunity to defend their team title.
“There’s nothing we can change now, and it’s unfortunate we fell short by the smallest margin,” Gluzinski said. “It’ll be a different feeling with just individuals, but Lauren and Sarah will have an opportunity to defend their titles.”
Robin Straus will get to coach the Lake Forest girls gymnastics team one more time after it qualified for state in Lincolnshire.
Straus, who has been coaching the Scouts since 1979, will take her team to Palatine for the fourth straight year. Lake Forest beat Carmel by 0.025 of a point to win the final at-large qualifier.
Kylie Carlson led the Scouts, taking second in the all-around with a 37.85. She had top-four finishes in each event. Katherine McKeon added a 36.175 in the all-around as she was sixth on bars and tied for sixth on beam.
Brittany Moccia was seventh on floor with a 9.125 and Carly Schmidt was 17th in the all-around with a 34.975.
A state final without Stevenson’s girls gymnastics team in the running just doesn’t happen very often.
For just the second time since 2001, the Patriots did not advance to the finals. The perennial power has won five titles during that same period. The Patriots were still very competitive at the Stevenson Sectional Feb. 7, but they settled for fourth place with 141.25 points.
With three-time defending state champion Carmel failing to qualify as well, this weekend’s state finals will be the first to not include either Carmel or Stevenson since 1998.
Alyssa Weisberg took top honors on beam (9.5) at the sectional. She also advanced to state on vault (9.475) and the all-around (36.725). Senior teammate Riley Treblico will join her as she qualified on beam (9.025).
The loss of Morgan Dunleavy to a concussion prior to the Stevenson Sectional didn’t bode well for Libertyville, which placed sixth with a 132.35.
“We had a rough go from a team perspective due to injuries,” Libertyville coach Tiffany Owens said. “Without Morgan it was nearly impossible, but overall I was really proud of what everyone did at the meet.”
That includes junior Mariah Lee, who earned a state berth on bars (9.175) and beam (9.05).
“She went last year on bars, so it’s very exciting for her to now go on two events,” Owens said.
Junior Rachel Metcalf (35.6) just fell short of advancing in the all-around via an at-large qualifier while senior Jenna Dunsing had a 33.9.
“Rachel did a good job. She had a tough meet at regionals so it was good to see her come back,” Owens said. “Jenna has been out most of the year with a severe ankle sprain and regionals was her first meet back and then she kind of reinjured herself on floor. As our only senior we were hoping she’d make it this year so that was kind of disappointing.”