Homestead gymnastics team claims conference title
Emond wins all-around crown for Highlanders
Homestead girls gymnastics coach Mike Giles doesn't like knowing where his team stands at any given point in a meet.
That way he doesn't feel compelled to add any more pressure to his high-level athletes.
"It gets into a counting situation and that just drives everybody nuts," he said.
But he had a pretty good idea of where his team stood in the North Shore/Greater Metro Conference meet his school hosted last Saturday.
And as opposed to driving him nuts, the Highlanders made him very happy as they turned in a season best of 141.275 points in claiming the league championship.
"The kids really kept it together and worked very hard," he said. "The JV even won, too."
The Highlanders had a two-plus point advantage over runner-up Grafton/Cedarburg (139.15) while defending champion Whitefish Bay was third (138.1), Nicolet fifth (133.4) and Shorewood ninth (103.675).
And though Giles did not use point-counting as a tactic, he did have other methods of motivation, noting that earlier in the week, Grafton/Cedarburg had broken the 140-point barrier in a dual meet - something the Highlanders had not done at that point yet.
"That did get mentioned a lot at practice," Giles said.
There was added pressure in the meet anyway, as the Highlanders stumbled to a 33.575 score on the uneven bars.
"We took a fall or two and then I asked myself, 'How do we pull this out?,' " Giles said.
The answer: by relying on the talent of Brittany Emond and her friends.
Emond, a junior, won the all-around in a heated competition with Bay freshman Mary Claire Potter, as Emond turned in a score of 36.7 while Potter had a mark of 36.325.
"She had an outstanding day, a fantastic day," said Giles of Emond.
Emond also won the balance beam (9.3), floor exercise (9.325) and the bars (9.25), while teammate Amanda Hopkins claimed the vault with a 9.35.
The vault and floor exercise were where the Highlanders made their real push. On vault, Hopkins got backing from Tori Puhl in third (9.075) and Monica Caputa in fourth (9.025) while on floor exercise, Emond got back-up from Hopkins in fourth (9.2) and Puhl in sixth (9.125).
Other top efforts for the Highlanders included Hopkins sixth on balance beam (9.05), Elyssa Tracy seventh on bars (8.65) and Emond ninth on vault (8.825).
"Everything went pretty well from the get-go," Giles said. "We're in good shape looking ahead (to sectionals)."
For defending champion Bay and coach Mary Liniewski, it was also an encouraging effort, as the score was a season best.
"It was a really good meet," Liniewski said. "I'm proud of the girls. We had a goal of about 137.5 and we exceeded that by .5. We had a lot of personal bests. The most encouraging part was that in some key spots, the only problem were some execution errors and those can be fixed."
Potter led the way for the Blue Dukes, as aside from her all-around, she was second on beam (9.2), floor (9.25) and bars (9.15). Junior Lucy Anzia gave her big help with a fourth in the all-around (35.5), while also taking fourth on beam (9.125) and third on floor (9.225).
Others praised for their efforts included Sarah Kenlay on beam (8.275), and the vault crew that included Eileen Demet (8.625), Paris Limberatos (8.5), Potter (8.725) and Anzia (8.8).
"We had a lot of fun," Liniewski said. "We hit our goals. We're putting on a surge, which is good for the program."
NICOLET: The Knights had several good efforts as Rachel Rabenn was ninth in the all-around (33.75) and Aleah Ellis 10th (33.6). On balance beam, Hayley Raj was eighth (8.85) and Rabenn 11th (8.7), while Ellis tied for 10th on floor (8.8) and was eighth on bars (8.625).
SHOREWOOD: Lily Blind led the way with a 28.4 all-around, while Miranda Jacobi turned in a score of 7.475 on floor and a 7.9 on vault. Blind turned in a 7.45 on bars and a 7.975 on vault.
UP NEXT: Homestead and Nicolet take part in the WIAA Division 1 sectional at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Arrowhead, while Bay and Shorewood compete in the D2 sectional at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Bay. In each instance, the top two teams and the first five individuals in all events advance to the WIAA state meet March 1 and 2 in Wisconsin Rapids.
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