HOFFMAN ESTATES – The Conant Girls Gymnastics Sectional got off to a rough start for Prairie Ridge co-op when sophomore Morgan Quinn hyperextended a knee in warmups that knocked her out of the meet.
Things did not get a lot better from there for the Wolves. Freshman Sydney Hallsten seemed to be the only one immune from misfortune as she won the all-around and qualified in three individual events.
Senior Maddy Kim and freshman Gracie Willis both fell attempting difficult skills on the uneven bars and Prairie Ridge will not go to state as a team, ending its string of seven state meets with a top-three finish.
Maine South won the meet with 145.375, while Prairie Ridge, a co-op team that draws athletes from Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South and Prairie Ridge, had 144.35 for second. Conant was the last of the four sectionals, so the Wolves knew they needed to beat Glenbrook South’s 144.65 for the last of four at-large team berths.
“It wasn’t because they didn’t try, they tried 100 percent,” said Prairie Ridge coach Lee Battaglia, whose teams had three state titles followed by a runner-up in the last four seasons. “It just was not meant to be. They gave it their all. I’m very proud of those kids. It started with Morgan (getting hurt), we needed her desperately. Unfortunately, it wasn’t our night.”
Except for Hallsten, who scored 37.575 to win the all-around and whose 9.65 gave her the balance beam title.
“It was one of my best meets,” she said. “That may be my best beam routine of my life. I stayed pretty solid throughout and hit all my skills. I really wish everyone could have made it as a team. That was my goal coming in, but we all tried our best.”
Willis and Kim will compete at state in all-around with Hallsten, who made it in all four individual events. Willis qualified on vault, beam and floor exercise, while Kim qualified on vault.
Kim will not be able to defend her state uneven bars title after her fall. She tried a Gienger, in which she swings upward, lets go of the high bar and does a flip with a half-twist, then regrabs the bar. She had made it in every meet.
“I rarely miss it. I just wanted it too bad,” Kim said. “You’re too close to the bar and everything is just thrown off. I’m upset about that. I wanted to go back and defend the title. I gave it my all.”
Willis tried a pike Jaeger maneuver, where she also lets go of the bar and regrabs it, but she missed. A few minutes later she scored 9.275 with a solid balance beam routine to earn an at-large spot. The top five finishers in each individual event automatically qualify and the next 12 scores receive at-large berths.
“I was centimeters away and slipped off,” Willis said. “You lose your tempo (when you fall). Beam is one of those things where you try to stay on and be confident. I’ve been confident on beam all year. I needed to put it all out there and that’s what I did.”
Conant Sectional Results
Team scores: 1. Maine South 145.375, 2. Prairie Ridge co-op 144.35, 3. Fremd 141.675, 4. Barrington 140.875, 5. Lake Zurich 139.0, 6. Conant 137.4, 7. Palatine 129.025.
Top team qualifies for the state meet.
Top five automatically qualify for state meet
Vault: 1. Pistorius (Maine S.) 9.7, 2. Hallsten (PR) 9.65, 3. Willis (PR) 9.5, 4. Trebac (LZ) 9.45, 5 (tie). Kim (PR), Wuerffel (HE), Argaez (MS), Christodoupoulos (Fremd) 9.375.
Uneven bars: 1 (tie). Roth (MS), Kane (Rolling Meadows) 9.55, 3. Rothmeyer (Schaum) 9.4, 4. Christodoupoulos (Fr) 9.325, 5. Hallsten (PR) 9.25.
Balance beam: 1. Hallsten (PR) 9.65, 2. Rothmeyer (Schaum) 9.4, 3. Baltsas (Maine E.) 9.375, 4. Wuerffel (HE) 9.35, 5 (tie). Tenbrusel (Barr), Trebac (LZ) 9.3.
Floor exercise: 1. Pistorius (MS) 9.325, 2. Willis (PR) 9.225, 3. Tenbrusel (Barr) 9.2, 4. Kim (PR) 9.125, 5. Smith (Con) 9.1.
All-around: 1. Hallsten (PR) 37.575, 2. Rothmeyer (Schaum) 37.050, 3. Pistorius (MS) 36.95, 4. Roth (MS) 36.85, 5. Tenbrusel (Barr) 36.675.