Everybody at the North Shore/Greater Metro Conference gymnastics meet in Menomonee Falls on Friday seemed to be looking ahead, readying themselves for the WIAA qualifying meets to come.
But that didn't prevent Whitefish Bay all-around Lily Hayes from claiming the individual title and leading the Blue Dukes to a dominating victory after a one-year hiatus.
"We found out where we're at today," Blue Dukes coach Mary Liniewski said. "Lilly had a good meet and we did well considering. We were battling some head colds but the kids fought their way through it. We wanted to hit on three events, we wound up hitting on two, but we're very satisfied with the outcome."
Coach Mike Giles of the defending champion Homestead squad was less thrilled, however, with his charges' third-place effort.
"We had a good vault, a not so good bars, a worse beam and we ended up with a good floor (exercise)," he said, "but on the plus side, this was the first time all season where we had close to the full team back."
They and sixth-place Nicolet and ninth-place Shorewood now look forward to WIAA sectional competition. The top two teams and first five individuals out of each event, including all-around, advance to the state meet in Wisconsin Rapids on March 7 and 8.
Homestead and Nicolet are at the Division 1 Watertown sectional at 11 a.m. Saturday while Bay, Shorewood and others compete in the Division 2 sectional 4:30 p.m. Friday.
"We're in good position," Liniewski said. "We're very confident that we can get everyone through (that deserves to). There are still things to work on but we're very confident."
"The kids accepted the critique of today (conference)," Giles said, "and they realize what they have to do to get back to state. We hit our sets, we're OK."
At the conference meet, Bay scored 144.55 points to finish well ahead of second-place Brookfield (137.9) while Homestead was third with 137.1, Nicolet sixth with 133.475 and Shorewood ninth with 114.575.
Hayes turned in a winning all-around score of 37.575, while teammates Aly Yurkowitz (fourth, 36.225), Mary Claire Potter (sixth, 35.8) and Lucille Anzia (ninth, 34.925) also supported her. It was Anzia's first all-around in quite some time due to a bruised foot.
Brittany Emond of Homestead was seventh (35.775) while Nicolet's Ellen Liang was 13th (34.025).
Hayes won the floor exercise (9.725) and the uneven bars (9.55) and tied for first on vault with a 9.3 mark. She was also fifth on beam (9.0).
Other top Bay finishes included the following: beam: Potter, seventh (8.925); Yurkowitz, ninth (8.875); floor: Yurkowitz, third (9.45); Potter, sixth (9.4); and Anzia, 10th (9.05); bars: Yurkowitz, sixth (8.675); Potter, seventh (8.575); Anzia, 11th (8.375); vault: Yurkowitz, third (9.225); Anzia and Paris Limberatos (tie), seventh (8.925); Potter, 11th (8.9).
For Homestead, Emond tied for third on floor (9.45) while Tori Puhl was ninth (9.125) and Elyssa Tracy 12th (8.9). On bars, Emond was fifth (8.95) and Tracy ninth (8.5) while on vault, Monica Caputa was sixth (9.075) and Leigh Berman and Puhl tied for seventh (8.925).
Nicolet was led by Rachel Rabenn, who was second on beam with a 9.125 score while Haley Raj tied for 12th (8.725). Liang was 12th on floor (8.9) and 10th on bars (8.425) while Rabenn was 13th on bars (8.15). Rabenn had a competitive score of 8.7 on vault, good for 15th.
Shorewood was paced by Izzie Tasse (8.05 on floor). Vault was by far and away the Greyhounds best event with a 32.55 team score as Katie Brusnaha (8.3) led five athletes who all scored more than eight on the event.
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