Bay's Hopkins, Nicolet's Kloehn take firsts at Homestead gymnastics invite
Annual event goes off without a hitch
With injuries and illness still slowing down everyone, there were still plenty of highlights for the Homestead, Nicolet and Whitefish Bay girls gymnastics teams at the Highlanders annual invitational on Saturday.
Including the great organizational help that first-year Highlanders coach Mike Giles got from a host of volunteers.
"A big plug should go out to our parent group," he said. "They did a great job setting things up. They said that the set-up and take-down went better than ever before. The meet was pretty well attended, with the main grandstand (in the field house) about three-quarters full at its best. There weren't any complaints and no one got hurt.
"That's what we like to see, the trainers sitting in their chairs, reading and not doing anything else."
The local teams took two individual firsts in the event as Nicolet's Jessica Kloehn turned in a spectacular effort in claiming the floor exercise with a 9.55 showing while Homestead's Amanda Hopkins turned in a 9.1 in taking the vault.
Maggie Anderson led Bay with a second-place showing in the all-around with a 35.8 mark.
Bay develops depth
The Blue Dukes, who are working without their second-best all-around athlete Sofie Yang (foot injury), topped the local teams, with a fourth-place showing in the 11-school field with a 137.7 total while Homestead was fifth with 132.85 and Nicolet seventh with 129.45.
"We actually set a team goal of 138 and came up only a little bit short," Blue Dukes coach Mary Liniewski said . "We still have about 11 spots in our lineup filled with subs (because of injuries), but I was very happy with how everyone did their jobs. We're developing a little depth."
Liniewski would also like to light a fire under Anderson, who has her sites set on a state Division 2 all-around title after taking second last season.
"She had a little bit of a rough meet," Liniewski said. "A few setbacks, but we hope that those will drive her."
Anderson tied for fifth in vault (8.85), was third on the uneven bars (9.125), and was 12th in floor exercise (9.2).
Other good efforts for Bay included Kelly Danek, 10th on vault (8.7) and the same on beam (8.95), Tory Patek 16th in floor exercise (8.9), Lucy Anzia sixth on beam (9.1) and 10th in the all-around (34.075).
Liniewski said that Anzia is just getting better and better everyday.
Highlanders missing starters
For Homestead, the Highlanders were still short three starters, including Brittany Emond who had turned her ankle in a recent dual meet.
Giles was still pleased with a number of efforts, including Hopkins' vault.
Others coming in for praise from him included Amy Schiman 16th on bars (8.1) and 17th in floor exercise (8.875), Cori Sanduski, fifth in floor exercise (9.425) and 13th on beam (8.825).
He said that Sanduski is doing "a heck of a job" recovering from a variety of injuries that have slowed her the past few seasons and that the team had a good overall day in floor exercise.
"But we did just OK overall as a team," he said. "We had some errors, especially on beam (four falls) and without those, our score would have been much higher. We lost some significant points there. We're getting there, but it's just taking some time.
"Hopefully, three-four meets down the road we should have almost everybody back at full-strength. Then we'll be able to compete on a high level."
"Homestead has a lot of depth on their team," she said. "For them, it's just a matter of getting focused and healthy."
For Nicolet, Kloehn also took eighth on vault (8.8), while Valerie Whittle was 18th on bars (8.075), 14th on beam (8.675) and was 12th in the all-around (33.5).
Bay and Homestead will now be at the Arrowhead Invite on Saturday while Nicolet is at Bay for a dual meet on Jan. 26.
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