PALATINE – What Prairie Ridge accomplished Friday – with Nikki Baars’ all-around state title and securing its third consecutive state team championship – was enough for a thrilling weekend at the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Meet.
The Wolves capped the meet in style in Saturday’s individual event finals, displaying again why they are the state’s top girls program.
Prairie Ridge had six entries in the finals, four with Baars and one each with sophomores Maddy Kim and Kira Karlblom. The Wolves went 6 for 6 in medals in the finals at Palatine High School.
“They did a great job yesterday, and the same ones did the same things,” Prairie Ridge coach Lee Battaglia said. “They scored the same or they scored better. They did fantastic. It was great.”
Prairie Ridge, a co-op team that draws athletes from Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South and Prairie Ridge, added one-tenth to its team score, finishing at 148.8. No team had any realistic chance of catching the Wolves after Friday. DeKalb repeated as state runner-up at 146.95, and Glenbrook South was third at 146.675.
Baars, a senior at C-G, tied for second in floor exercise, was third on balance beam, tied for third on uneven bars and tied for fifth on vault to finish off her standout career. In all-around, which is completed Friday, she took first after finishing third last year.
Baars finished with six medals, a performance that could not have been much better.
“I feel like I had some bumps in places,” she said. “I did pretty well. I wanted to improve my scores from last night and I did that.”
Battaglia knew Baars would be in the thick of most events.
“Nikki did a great job,” he said. “I expect that out of her. She’s a competitor.”
Kim and Karlblom, both Prairie Ridge students, contributed to last year’s team title and were integral parts of this year’s team.
“It was way different,” said Kim, who tied for fifth on uneven bars. “I had to hit for my team and I felt a much bigger role. It was, not hard, it was just different being one of the people at the end because there’s more pressure on you. Your coach is putting you there (at the end) because they know you’ll hit (your routine).”
Kim scored 9.475 to tie for fifth and get a medal. Both she and Karlblom just wanted to be in one of the finals.
“It was cool that I made the bars finals because that was one of my goals,” Kim said. “It was awesome that I placed too.”
Karlblom scored 9.525 to tie for fourth in floor exercise. She had to wait all afternoon before competing.
“I was a little nervous, but I was mostly excited because I did what I needed to mostly [Friday],” Karlblom said. “This day was just kind of for myself. I just wanted to go out there and have some fun.”
Karlblom, Kim and sophomore Clancy Raupp (Crystal Lake Central) will be the core of next year’s team as Baars and Alyssa Petko, also a C-G student, are the only seniors.
Battaglia said the experience of being later in the Wolves’ rotation was good for Kim and Karlblom.
“The longer you wait, the more the pressure builds,” he said. “They have to go through that. That was good for them. Maddy has a good bars set, she did a great job. Kira’s floor was a beautiful set, it was clean. Kira’s always clean. Today was just a little better than normal and she ended up fourth.”
Here is the list of individual medals won by Prairie Ridge competitors at the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Meet. The Wolves also won their third consecutive state team title.
Athlete Event Place Score
Nikki Baars Vault 5th 9.65
Nikki Baars Bars 3rd 9.5
Nikki Baars Beam 3rd 9.35
Nikki Baars Floor 2nd 9.55
Nikki Baars All-around 1st 38.075
Maddy Kim Bars 5th 9.475
Kira Karlblom Floor 4th 9.525
Nikki Baars’ all-around state championship was the fourth in Wolves’ history, joining Jenny Covers (2009, 2011) and Rachael Underwood (2015).
IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Meet
Team scores: 1. Prairie Ridge Co-op 148.8, 2. DeKalb 146.95, 3. Glenbrook South 146.675, 4. Carmel 145.15, 5. New Trier 145.1, 6. Lincoln-Way East 144.45, 7. Conant 144.0, 8. Glenbard West 142.45, 9. Lake Park 142.05.
Individual Events Finals
Vault: 1. A. Leman (DeK) 9.85, 2. Diab (Glenbard W.) 9.775, 3. Bregman (Glenbard N.) 9.725, 4. Ginsberg (Geneva) 9.7, 5 (tie). Baars (PR), H. Hartley (Glenbrook S.) 9.65, 7 (tie). Hickey (DeK), J. Hartley (Glenbrook S.) 9.6, 9. Pistorius (Maine S.) 9.45, 10. Meyrick (Conant) 9.425.
Uneven bars: 1 (tie). A. Leman (DeK), Diab (Glenbard W.) 9.525, 3 (tie). Rohrer (NT), Baars (PR) 9.5, 5 (tie). Kim (PR), Bregman (Glenbard N.) 9.475, 7 (tie). Ginsberg (Geneva), L. Leman (DeK) 9.45, 9. Roe (Sandburg), Lococo (Carmel) 9.275.
Balance beam: 1 (tie). Pistorius (Maine S.), Murdock (NT) 9.425, 3. Baars (PR) 9.35, 4. H. Hartley (Glenbrook S.) 9.325, 5. Bloom (Conant) 9.3, 6. Faulkner (NT) 9.1, 7. Roe (Sanburg) 9.0, 8. Diab (Glenbard W.) 8.95, 9. Davenport (Downers Grove S.) 8.825, 10. Moran (Fremd) 8.8, 11. J. Hartley (Glenbrook S.) 8.725.
Floor exercise: 1. Lococo (Carmel) 9.6, 2 (tie). Baars (PR), Ginsberg (Geneva) 9.55, 4 (tie). Karlblom (PR), Faulkner (NT), J. Hartley (Glenbrook S.) 9.525, 7. Pistorius (Maine S.) 9.475, 8. Meyrick (Conant) 9.4, 9. Giglio (Sandburg) 9.375, 10 (tie). Salomon (Lemont), Carlson (DGS) 9.35, 12. Belka (LWE) 9.25.
All-around: 1. Baars (PR) 38.075, 2. H. Hartley (Glenbook S.) 38.025, 3 (tie). Ginsberg (Geneva), Diab (Glenbard W.) 38.0, 5. A. Leman (DeK) 37.85.