Fiddich Review Centre

Geneva edges Carmel to claim New Trier crown

You couldn’t miss Judy Harwood at Saturday afternoon’s New Trier Holiday girls gymnastics invite in Northfield.

Stevenson’s coach wore a delightfully loud, green top that screamed “Christmas!” Her unique necklace — imagine a skinny lei, adorned with large Christmas tree lights — helped her stand out, too.

“My girls gave this to me,” a grinning Harwood said of the blinking, makeshift accessory.

“Festive, isn’t it?” she added.

Her Patriots also got into the theme of the meet, dancing and tumbling to holiday music for their floor exercise routines. Emma Fang — the uneven bars champ, with a score of 9.35 — chose “White Christmas.”

“That was super fun, getting to compete with different music,” said Fang, whose normal floor tune is, in her word, “violin-y.”

The winning team Saturday?

Geneva’s sound Vikings, who tallied 142.425 points at the 10-team gathering held at New Trier’s cozy gym. Sadie Karlson (36.75) and Reese Lackey (35.875) went 2-3 in the all-around, and Viking Brooke Lussnig took eighth (34.775).



Karlson, a senior and first-year high school gymnast, topped the floor field with a 9.35; Lussnig reigned on the beam, balancing and dismounting her way to a 9.275.

“I’m super happy,” Geneva coach Kimberly Hostman said, adding her merry crew hit 19 of 20 routines exactly a week before Christmas Eve. “It’s such a wonderful group of athletes. They all stayed calm and kept their focus.”

And got revved up on the bus, Karlson noted.

“The music on the bus ride here got us hyped and got our mindset to where it needed to be,” said Karlson, a St. Charles Gymnastics Academy gymnast the past three winters. “We were ready to go.”

Carmel Catholic took runner-up honors with a 141.025-point effort, one week after winning the 12-team Conant invite with a 143.425. Sarah Arends paced the Corsairs by capturing the all-around title (36.9) and edging teammate Ava Fendel 9.45-9.4 for the gold on vault.



About the only thing Arends failed to do Saturday was hide the extent of her injured ankle. The talented, gritty Corsair gimped noticeably while climbing and descending the awards stand.

Arends also medaled on floor (2nd, 9.3), beam (2nd, 9.15) and bars (4th, 9.0).

Carmel junior Julia Bukowski served as the epitome of a team player Saturday. Shoulder surgery plus a banged-up elbow had prevented Bukowski from attempting a vault in previous meets.

“She came up to me and said, ‘I want to vault at this invite for the team,’ ” Corsairs coach Sarah Mikrut Doyle recounted. “I loved hearing that.”

Bukowski executed an 8.95 Yurchenko pike, solid enough for a 12th-place tie. She also kicked off the squad’s beam rotation with a fifth-place-tying 8.975.

“Julia,” Doyle said, “is what you want in a teammate. She’s a team-first girl, through and through.”

New Trier (138.9) finished third, followed by Hinsdale Central (134.95), Lincoln-Way co-op (134.15), Maine South (132.325), Lake Zurich (132.2), Fremd (131.975), Glenbard North (130.4) and Stevenson (128.18).

Glenbard North’s Carly Bachara placed fourth in the all-around (35.775), a sliver ahead of Fremd’s Kacey Tokunaga (35.725). New Trier’s Clara Crossgrove (35.425) and Carmel’s Alyssah Arends (34.9) went 6-7.

Tokunaga also bronzed on beam (9.125) and tied Geneva’s Graci Weems and Hinsdale Central’s Audrey Austin for fifth place (9.2) on floor.

On the back of Fremd’s team T-shirt: “The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow.”

“The girls voted to make that our team quote,” Fremd coach Kacey Kronforst said. “They love to condition.

“Great competition here, and it’s a well-run meet,” added the former three-sport athlete (gymnastics, softball and volleyball) at Cary-Grove. “It’s a good opportunity to see where we’re at as a team before the holiday break.”

Other top-five performances: NT’s Ryann Segall (2nd, bars, 9.25); Karlson (3rd, bars, 9.1; 3rd, vault, 9.3; 4th, beam, 9.0); Fremd’s Julia White (4th, bars, 8.95); Maine South’s Anastasia Gritsonis (4th, vault, 9.275); Lake Zurich’s Mia McHugh (5th, vault, 9.25); Lackey (5th-place tie, beam, 8.975); Glenbard North’s Brooklyn McQuillan (3rd, floor, 9.275); and Crossgrove (4th, floor, 9.225).

Flips & Kips: Stevenson freshman Cassidy Carlborg threw her first back one-and-a-half twist on floor en route to a 7.9 on Saturday. … Geneva coach Kimberly Hostman, in her 18th year as coach at her alma mater, specialized on beam in her Vikings days. … NT Holiday invite event winners Saturday received T-shirts instead of medals. … The invite’s Prettiest Pigtail honors went to Stevenson’s Clara Cavalcanti. She did not nip the runner-up by a hair; only Cavalcanti was recognized in the fun category. … Stevenson’s Emma Fang, on her first-place bars routine: “Really excited about my pirouette bale.” She had struggled while warming up her layout full-twist dismount in the morning. The dismount in her afternoon gig? “Much better,” Fang said. … Geneva senior Sadie Karlson, on life as an old rookie on the prep gymnastics scene: “My second day, I felt like a member of a close family. It’s been so easy and fun, clicking with my new teammates.” … Geneva’s Maeve Devlin, Emma Wiedenhoeft and Maura Anderson also competed for the champs on Saturday.


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