PALATINE – Prairie Ridge co-op gymnast Gabby Riley won a state title for herself Friday and will try to help the Wolves hang on for the team title Saturday.
Riley scored 37.85 to take all-around honors at the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Meet at Palatine, qualifying in all four events for Saturday’s finals.
The Wolves, a co-op team that draws competitors from Prairie Ridge, Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central and Crystal Lake South, leads the meet with 147.8, but Lake Zurich (147.575) and Carmel (147.525) are right behind and team scores can improve in the finals.
Prairie Ridge sophomore Gracie Willis qualified for the finals in floor, so the Wolves’ hopes for their fourth team state title in six years rest with Riley and Willis.
Riley hit on all four events and had the highest score (9.65) in floor exercise from the preliminaries. Willis scored 9.575 and that was with her stepping out of bounds, which knocked off one-tenth of a point.
Riley edged Glenbard West’s Anna Diab (37.75) and Lake Zurich’s Kayla Bailey (37.725) for the all-around title. Diab’s sister Maddie won the past two state all-around championships.
“It feels good, very exciting, very overwhelming,” said Riley, who attends Cary-Grove. “My parents [Shawn and Darlene] are always very supportive, and it’s very helpful. My teammates are always cheering, and that helps me get the routines and make them the best that I can.”
As good as she was, Riley said she can do more Saturday.
“I had a few mistakes, and I really want to help our team score go up,” she said.
Wolves coach Lee Battaglia thinks she can do that, and that the Wolves will need every fraction of points they can get.
“Realistically, [Riley] could get us half a point,” Battaglia said. “Her [uneven] bars and [balance] beam can go up the most. Gracie could go a tenth higher on floor, too. She went out of bounds. They have to come through tomorrow if we have a chance, because Carmel and Lake Zurich have a lot of people in the finals. It’s going to be close.”
Carmel has seven finals entries, Prairie Ridge has five and Lake Zurich has four.
The Wolves were tied with Carmel heading into the uneven bars, both teams’ final rotation, and hoped to widen their lead, but lost a point with two falls. Fortunately for Prairie Ridge, Carmel also had some slips on bars, and the Wolves came out ahead by 0.275. Lake Zurich finished on the vault and jumped into second place.
“We didn’t start out very strong on beam, and we knew we had to connect strong on vault and floor,” said Willis, who attends Prairie Ridge. “We definitely did that. [Bars] was not what we wanted, but it could have been worse. I’m so proud of everyone. It’s really exciting, kind of scary. It doesn’t feel like we have a big lead. It will be really nerve-wracking going into tomorrow.”
Battaglia marveled at Riley’s calm demeanor in her biggest meet of the year. She is the fourth freshman in 20 years to win the all-around, and the fourth Prairie Ridge gymnast to win it, joining Jenny Covers (2009 and 2011), Rachael Underwood (2015) and Nikki Baars (2017).
“[Riley] is in a zone. She gets herself in that zone, and that’s very, very important when you’re a Level 10 gymnast,” Battaglia said. “You have to get into your own zone. Gabby doesn’t let too many things rile her. That’s why she hit 4 for 4 and did a good job for us. She’s consistent and gets into that zone.”
IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Meet
Team scores: 1. Prairie Ridge 147.8, 2. Lake Zurich 147.575, 3. Carmel 147.525, 4. Glenbard East 146.25, 5. New Trier 145.875, 6. Mundelein 144.575, 7. Downers Grove South 142.775, Fremd 140.2.
Note: Team scores can improve with scores from Saturday’s finals.
(Top 10 advance to finals)
Vault: 1. Kayla Bailey (LZ) 9.875, 2. (tie) Weinstein (Stevenson), Sheena Graham (Glenbrook S.) 9.775, 4 (tie). Isabella Kropoiwiec (Carmel), Kristin Fisch (Lake Forest) 9.7, 6 (tie). Lyndsey Basara (Car), Madeline Kees (DeKalb) 9.65, 8. Gabby Riley (PR) 9.6, 9 (tie). Becca Gordon (Highland Park), Anna Becker (Libertyville) 9.575.
Uneven bars: 1. Clare Keane (Car) 9.6, 2. Kali Kartheiser (Glenbard E.) 9.575, 3. Nicole Kane (Rolling Meadows) 9.55, 4. Becker (Lib) 9.425, 5 (tie). Korina Jarosz (Lincoln-Way East), Kees (DeK) 9.4, 7. Graham (GS) 9.375, 8. Riley (PR) 9.35, 9 (tie). Caroline Klobach (Hinsdale C.), Diab (GW), Alexis Rothmeyer (Schaumburg) 9.325.
Balance beam: 1. Diab (GW) 9.45, 2. Graham (GS) 9.325, 3. Sarah Ozeki (Glenbard N.) 9.275, 4. Riley (PR) 9.25, 5. Amanda Muech (Mundelein) 9.225, 6 (tie). Bailey (LZ) Katie Wagner (GN) 9.2, 8. Basara (Car) 9.15, 9 (tie). Alana Riemenschneider (Barrington), Maeve Murdock (New Trier) 9.1.
Floor exercise: 1. Riley (PR) 9.65, 2 (tie). I. Kropiwiec (Car), Basara (Car) 9.6, 4. Willis (PR) 9.575, 5. Diab (GW) 9.525, 6. Bailey (LZ) 9.475, 7. Kelsey Rothas (LZ) 9.425, 8 (tie). Kelsey Donovan (GE), Rebecc Honig (GE) 9.4, 10. Keane (Car) 9.375.
All-Around (results are final): 1. Riley (PR) 37.85, 2. Diab (Glenbard W.) 37.75, 3. Bailey (LZ) 37.725, 4. Weinstein (Stev) 37.55, 5. Jarosz (LWE) 37.325.