Junior veterans Brooke Lussnig and Graci Weems helped the Geneva girls gymnastics team take a big step this season with their fingers.
They finally convinced all-arounder Sadie Karlson to join the team as a senior.
“We all used to go to the same club (St. Charles Gymnastics Academy). I told them every single year, ‘Guys I think I’m going to try out this year,’ and I waited until senior year just because it didn’t work out before,” Karlson said. “They would text me, ‘It’s so much more fun. It’s more of a team atmosphere. It’s so much more easy going.’ And it’s just been awesome because it’s like the club team at high school, like 2.0. We clicked again immediately.”
Together, they helped the Vikings conclude a great regular season Friday by winning their first conference title since 2017 by winning the DuKane Conference Meet at home with 142.775 points after going 5-0 in duals.
Defending champion Lake Park (139.45) was second, followed by Glenbard North (138.60), Wheaton co-op (136.25), Batavia (133.40) and St. Charles co-op (129.775).
“Every since our freshman year we’re like, ‘Sadie, please come join high school gymnastics.’ She’s helped our team so much,” Weems said.
“It feels great to win as a team at home,” Lussnig added. “We’re happy (Karlson) finally did it and now we have such a good bond as a team.”
Wheaton co-op junior Haylie Hinckley defended her all-around title (37.125) in an impressive battle with Karlson (37.025) and Glenbard North’s Carly Bachara (37.00), another first-year senior high-school gymnast. Hinckley also defending her DKC title on floor exercise (9.45) and uneven parallel bars (9.3).
With the final routine of the night, Bachara won balance beam with a meet-high 9.65. Lake Park junior Julia Bartnik won floor exercise (9.45).
The DKC is tough as ever with five teams in strong contention to advance as teams to their respective sectionals. Geneva, the No. 1 seed for the Hinsdale South Sectional, will host their regional Wednesday.
“I feel like we’ve been working so long on a conference overall win and now that we finally got it, it’s just a good step in the direction towards state,” Geneva coach Kim Hostman said.
Karlson didn’t win an event but earned the maximum five top-five medals. She also was second on uneven bars (9.275), and third on beam (9.4) and floor (9.25) and shared fifth on vault (9.1)
Weems was second on floor (9.3) and but earlier had perhaps her most important performance with a fourth-place 9.3 on beam. Lake Park, the first team on beam, had a great no-fall 35.625 set led by Bartnik’s second-place 9.425. Geneva responded with a meet-best 35.90.
Hinckley did even better than 2022, her first high-school season, when her 36.45 won DKC all-around with three event titles, all but beam. She also was fourth on vault (9.225) and fifth on beam (9.15).
..’I think I’m doing a lot better this year than last year. That’s what my coaches say,” Hinckley said. “I think I’m more experienced because last year was my first year of high school so I didn’t really know what to expect. Now I know and how to construct routines.”
Bartnik was fourth in all-around (36.825) and also fifth on uneven bars (8.9). Last year, Bartnik’s lone DKC medal was a second-place tie on beam. The vault titlist broke her foot vaulting as a freshman.
“Vault has been a struggle for me over the past two years. This year I’ve been really proud of myself with how I’ve competed,” Bartnik said. “Really working my hardest I can in the offseason and really adding the confidence in my routines (has helped).”
Bachara had formed a great 1-2 combination with senior Brooklyn McQuillan, who was fifth in all-around (36.10). Bachara (9.45) and McQuillan (9.3) were second and third on vault.
“Through (beam) practice all week, I’ve really been working on taking my breath, one skill at a time and not rushing through it, and I’ve been hitting,” Bachara said. “I was in shock. I didn’t think it would be that high but I’m very proud because I knew I could do it.”
Batavia senior Grace Cooper and Geneva freshman Reese Lackey shared fourth on floor (9.2). St. Charles co-op sophomore Rachel Nicastro shared fifth on vault (9.1).