ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Prairie Ridge co-op appears more than ready to chase its fourth consecutive IHSA girls gymnastics state team championship.
The Wolves posted their highest score in history at Monday’s Hersey Regional, 151.3, and took the top four all-around spots with those gymnasts separated by only 0.15.
Prairie Ridge co-op, which draws athletes from Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South and Prairie Ridge, will compete in next week’s Hoffman Estates Sectonal, then should have a chance to again defend its title at the state meet Feb. 16 and 17 in Palatine.
“It’s a really cool feeling,” said Clancy Raupp, a junior from Central who won the all-around at 37.9. “I wasn’t on the team when they got the previous high score. It feels really good to keep improving on our last meets. We’ve had our strongest meets these last couple meets, and we keep improving. If we keep it up, we have a good shot.”
Prairie Ridge’s previous team-best score was 150.6 to win the 2016 state title. The Wolves also scored 150 the previous year to win state.
“I would like it in a couple weeks,” Wolves coach Lee Battaglia said, grinning. “Right now, it’s just about maintaining where we’re at. We’re not looking to do anything different, we’re just looking to maintain. That sometimes is difficult to do. There’s a lot of pressure on them after winning it three years in a row. The fourth is going to be tough.”
Prairie Ridge showed its strength with three girls winning individual events – Maddy Kim won uneven bars and floor exercise, Ciara Ryan won vault, and Raupp won balance beam. Raupp (37.9), Kim (37.875) Ryan and Kira Karlblom (tie, 37.75) took the top four all-around spots.
“My floor was a little off, but I did my beam really well,” Raupp said. “I just focused on my routines like I do in practice and tried not to think of it as a meet, and that helped me out a lot.”
The lowest score the Wolves counted among 16 individual event scores (four girls in each event) was a 9.0 from Ryan, who fell on the balance beam. Through the first two events (bars and vault), the lowest counting score was 9.375.
“It means a lot,” Karlblom said. “It shows all our hard work is paying off. There’s always room for improvement. I had a little hiccup on floor and couple of errors on other events, but I’m proud of everybody. We did a really good job.”
The scary thing for any challengers is the Wolves felt there still was room for improvement.
“I can’t imagine us getting better on bars,” assistant coach Lisa Rumford said. “We can get better on floor, and we can get better on beam.”
STAR OF THE MEET
Crystal Lake Central, jr.
Raupp, who attends Central but competes for the Prairie Ridge co-op team, won the all-around with a score of 38.0. She took fourth on vault, fifth on uneven bars, was second in floor exercise and won the balance beam.
0.15: The points that separated four Prairie Ridge gymnasts in the all-around competition – Clancy Raupp (37.9), Maddy Kim (37.875), Kira Karlblom (37.75) and Ciara Ryan (37.75).
AND ANOTHER THING ...
The Wolves have hit the 150 mark a few times in their history, including when they won the 2016 IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Meet in 2015 with 150 and in 2016 with 150.6.
Top team and top five individuals in each event automatically advance to next week’s Hoffman Estates Sectional.
Team scores: 1. Prairie Ridge co-op 151.3, 2. Buffalo Grove 136.6, 3. Hersey 132.5, 4. Elk Grove 129.7, 5. Fenton 113.625.
Vault: 1. Ryan (PR) 9.775, 2. Karlblom (PR) 9.6, 3. Kim (PR) 9.575, 4. Raupp (PR) 9.525, 5. Kamysz (Her) 9.25.
Uneven bars: 1. Kim (PR) 9.6, 2. Ryan (PR) 9.55, 3. Karlblom (PR) 9.5, 4. Kamysz (Her) 9.375, 5. Raupp (PR) 9.325.
Balance beam: 1. Raupp (PR) 9.575, 2. Karlblom (PR) 9.25, 3. Kim (PR) 9.175, 4. Ryan (PR) 9.0, 5 (tie). Woodlock (PR), Sprenger (EG), Sobolak (BG) 8.650.
Floor exercise: 1. Kim (PR) 9.525, 2. Raupp (PR) 9.475, 3 (tie). Kamysz (Her), Schaffer (PR), Ryan (PR) 9.425.
All-around: 1. Raupp (PR) 37.9, 2. Kim (PR) 37.875, 3 (tie). Karlblom (PR), Ryan (PR) 37.75, 5. Kamysz (Her) 36.4.