Bay gymnasts ready to reclaim league title after Bradley win
Homestead, Shorewood also compete
After a long week of organizing, setting up, making sure things were all in order and oh, yes, coaching a bit, Whitefish Bay girls gymnastics coach Mary Liniewski got to sit back and take in all that was accomplished as her Blue Dukes began their championship season Saturday with an impressive win in the Red Division of their own Bradley Invitational.
She took special note of what the Blue Dukes did on their final event, the floor exercise.
"We needed a good floor set to beat Arrowhead," she said, "so I collected them together and I told them 'We always shine on floor' and then they went out and all turned in personal bests. The team was just energized.
"They were like 'No way were we falling apart.'"
It doesn't look like that that will be a problem for the Blue Dukes at all as they seek to regain their North Shore/Greater Metro Conference title at the meet at Menomonee Falls at 4 p.m Friday. The Blue Dukes were an unaccustomed third last season behind champion Homestead.
"Our goal is to hit three events and see how far that takes us," said Liniewski, who is looking at the meet as more of a progress report in front of the WIAA sectional and state meets. "I told Bob (Bradley, the Bay gymnastics coaching legend for whom the meet is named for) that I really don't care if we win (conference) and he made me repeat it three times just to make sure he got it right.
"Winning is nice, but to me, it's more about our composure, where we need to be. Don't get me wrong, it would be fun to be on the podium, but it'll be the best team that will win."
In Homestead coach Mike Giles' mind, that will likely be Bay.
"I just don't think we have the horses to beat Bay," he said after taking third in the Red Division of the Bradley. "I just can't see us making up that many points. Our kids will be fired up, but for us, second will be a legitimate goal."
One can understand why Giles thinks that way after getting a look at the Blue Dukes' leader Lily Hayes, who has spent all season laying waste to one record after another. Hayes claimed the all-around with a 38.125 score. She also led that floor group with a spectacular winning mark of 9.8 and also took the uneven bars with a 9.7.
"My daughter was flashing the floor scores," Liniewski said, "and it was so funny. When she got Lilly's score, her jaw just dropped."
Hayes, who Liniewski said displayed a happy, playoff spirit all day, was also second on balance beam (9.425) and third on vault (9.2) all of which helped cement an opinion that Liniewski has been developing over the course of the endless winter.
"I don't think there's anyone in the state who can touch her," Liniewski said of Hayes. "Not any of the FMOW (Franklin, Muskego, Oak Creek and Whitnall co-op) or Burlington girls. I don't think any of them can beat her."
Nor can anyone touch the Blue Dukes on floor. Aly Yurkowitz was second to Hayes on floor with a 9.525, while Mary Claire Potter was sixth (9.35). Mackenzie Peters also turned in a best effort with an 8.775.
All those efforts led to a 144.5 total as the Blue Dukes beat a short-handed Arrowhead team that was dealing with injuries (142.85) while Homestead turned in a 139.025 for third.
"We started out on vault with our best vault day of the season," Liniewski said, "but on bars we missed some bonus points which was uncharacteristic for us. We had four falls on beam, a little shaky, and then that's when we headed over to floor."
She noted it was good to have Lucille Anzia back on balance beam after recovering from an injury.
"We just had an abundance of energy today," Liniewski said.
Giles was also pleased with his squad.
"I thought we had a good meet," he said. "Out of four events, I counted only three real wobbles. No falls either. We hit all of our sets and competed well against good competition."
Brittany Emond tied for fourth in the all-around with a 36.45 mark. She tied for sixth on bars (9.025), was sixth on beam (9.05) and claimed fifth on floor (9.375). Leigh Berman was seventh on beam (9.025), Tori Puhl ninth on floor (9.225) and Monica Caputa eighth on vault (9.1) with what Giles felt was an effort that was scored far too low.
Emond also turned in a 9.0 on vault and Berman an 8.975.
Giles said this was a good test heading into conference.
"It was a well-run meet, too, and Mary (LiniewskI) did a great job getting it ready," he said. "The competition was very good."
Shorewood was seventh in the White Division of the Bradley with a 116.6 mark as Waterford won with a 131.1.
Vault was the best event as freshmen led the way. Katie Brusnahan was 14th (8.375) and Matia Williams 17th (8.3) while sophomore Mara Garran was 22nd (8.1).
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