PALATINE – Prairie Ridge junior Ciara Ryan was close to pulling off the rare feat of winning a state all-around title while qualifying for only one individual event final.
Ryan fell on the uneven bars and balance beam at last week’s Hoffman Estates Sectional, meaning she did not qualify as an individual in those events, as well as floor exercise. But Ryan snagged an at-large all-around berth to Friday’s IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Meet at Palatine, then almost grabbed the all-around title.
Ryan sat in first place at 37.9 after finishing her beam routine, with Glenbard West’s Maddie Diab and Maine South’s Caleigh Pistorius as the only gymnasts who could catch her.
Pistorius scored 9.6 on floor exercise, the top preliminary score, to pass Ryan by 0.05 of a point. Diab then survived a fall on beam and scored 9.2 to pass Pistorius. The finish was Diab (38.025) first, with Pistorius (37.95) second and Ryan (37.9) third.
The all-around competition was completed Friday. The top 10 performers in each event, plus ties, advance to the finals Saturday. Team scores also may increase in the finals.
Diab’s all-around championship was not Glenbard West’s only triumph of the meet’s first day. The Hilltoppers (149.55) effectively ended Prairie Ridge’s string of three consecutive state championships. The Wolves, a co-op team with athletes from Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South and Prairie Ridge, have 148.75. Even with five competitors in the finals, Prairie Ridge almost certainly will not be able to make up eight-tenths of a point.
“It felt good,” said Ryan, who attends Crystal Lake South. “I wanted to redeem myself from sectional and try to come back and improve my routines as much as I could, and get points for our team.”
Prairie Ridge coach Lee Battaglia was not surprised by Ryan, who switched to his gym (Crystal Lake Gymnastics Training Center) last year.
“She had a good meet. I was very happy with how she did,” Battaglia said. “She has a boatload of difficulty [skills]. She’s a Level 10 [club] gymnast. There was no water-down for her; we had her throw every single skill she has. She did a great job with those skills.”
Ryan qualified for Saturday’s finals in the vault, her only state individual event.
Kira Karlblom qualified for the finals in vault, bars and floor exercise. Maddy Kim qualified on bars. Karlblom medaled in floor and Kim medaled on bars last year.
The Wolves were chasing Glenbard West throughout the meet and made up some ground on bars. Macey Woodlock, a junior from South, started the Wolves off with a 9.35 on the beam, but three falls there wiped out their chance of catching the Hilltoppers.
“It just wasn’t there on the beam,” Battaglia said. “Kira has been solid on beam and scored very, very well. I just wish Kira, Clancy (Raupp) or Maddy had stayed on beam, it would have made [Saturday] interesting.”
Each fall on beam deducts one-half point, although Glenbard West had some beam errors, as well.
Prairie Ridge was trying to become the fourth team to win four consecutive state team titles.
“We did OK, not our best,” Karlblom said. “[Winning state] has been really fun. It maybe gives us more motivation for next year. Go back and practice and work a little harder and stuff.”
Prairie Ridge’s only senior is Katarina Schaffer, while Glenbard West’s lineup has no seniors, so the two likely will be favorites again next year.
“Second’s great,” Battaglia said. “You always want to win. Second was good. I’m sure they’re a little bit disappointed with what they did on beam. That’s a little bit of a downer. You learn from mistakes.”
Unfortunately, those three (falls) were tough ones.”
STAR OF THE MEET
Prairie Ridge, jr.
Ryan had one of her best meets of the season, scoring 37.9 in the all-around to take third in the state meet, only 0.08 behind winner Maddie Diab of Glenbard West.
7: State trophies in a row that Prairie Ridge co-op will win. The Wolves were third in 2012, second in 2013 and 2014, state champs in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and will be second after Saturday’s finals with 148.75. Glenbard West’s lead of 149.55 is safe.
AND ANOTHER THING...
Prairie Ridge coach Lee Battaglia thought Ryan’s uneven bars routine would have scored higher than 9.5 in a club gymnastics meet because of her difficult skills. “It was a phenomenal bars set,” Battaglia said. “She gets rewarded more in club for that than she does in high school.” Ryan completed her toe-on Tkachev, where she swings on the higher bar with her toes on the bar, releases on the way up, then regrabs the bar on the way down.
IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Meet
Team scores (after preliminaries): 1. Glenbard West 149.550, 2. Prairie Ridge 148.75, 3. Glenbrook South 146.5, 4. New Trier 146.275, 5. Maine South 146.225, 6. Carmel 145.275, 7. Lincoln-Way East 144.025, 8. Wheaton-Warrenville South 143.525.
Note: Team scores can go up with performances in the finals.
Vault: 1. Hickey (DeKalb) 9.8, 2. M. Diab (GW) 9.7, 3. Labue (WWS) 9.675, 4. Pistorius (MS) 9.65, 5. Barkal (NT) 9.6.
Uneven bars: 1. M. Diab (GW) 9.575, 2 (tie). Karlblom (PR), Pistorius (MS) 9.5, 4. Kim (PR) 9.475, 5. Leman (DeK) 9.45.
Balance beam: 1. Giglio (Sandburg) 9.425, 2 (tie). Labue (WWS), Murdock (NT) 9.375, 4 (tie). Graham (GS), Stocki (Downers Grove N.), Ramirez (GW) 9.325.
Floor exercise: 1. Pistorius (MS) 9.6, 2 (tie). M. Diab (GW), Carlson (Downers Grove S.) 9.55, 4. Kamysz (Hersey) 9.475, 5. Ramirez (GW) 9.45.
All-around: 1. M. Diab (GW) 38.025, 2. Pistorius (MS) 37.95, 3. Ryan (PR) 37.9, 4. Ramirez (GW) 37.575, 5. Labue (WWS) 37.45.