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BG's Dunne 2nd in all-around
By Matt Beardmore | Daily Herald Correspondent

South Elgin/Bartlett's Emily Potts in the floor exercise at 24th annual Larkin Royal Varsity Gymnastics Invitational.


George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

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Published: 1/6/2008 12:46 AM

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So much for the growing pains of a first-year program and having to wait its turn as other teams accepted first-place medals.

In its first-ever appearance at the Larkin Royal girls gymnastics invitational, South Elgin/Bartlett co-op grabbed gold on Saturday after winning the team competition at the 15-team event. And it came in near-record fashion as it held off Batavia by the slimmest of margins: 138.4-138.375.

It was the second-closest team finish in the 24-year history of the invite. Neuqua Valley and Crystal Lake South tied ( 138.15) for the title in 2002.

Buffalo Grove's Linda Dunne, the all-around champion last season as the Bison won their first-ever Larkin Royal Invite, entered the meet with all-around wins in each of BG's meets this season, minus second-place showings against two of the top gymnasts in the state -- Glenbard North's Marissa Bosco at the Hersey Candy Cane Invitational on Dec. 13 and in the season-opener against Fremd and senior Mary Burke, the defending state all-around champion.

But was there any pressure for the sophomore to repeat at Larkin?

"No, she's pretty confident and pretty laid back," said Buffalo Grove coach Stephanie Schrader, whose team took fifth place with 132.6. "She's never really uptight at all."

Dunne opened the meet with a 9.2 on floor, then followed with a fourth-place effort on vault (9.45). She posted a 8.95 on bars and took first on beam (9.15) as she took second (36.75) in the all-around.

"It wasn't the best (meet) but I came in and did my best," said Dunne, who finished 23rd in the all-around last season at the state meet and just missed the event finals on the beam (11th place).

Kim Gulik won bars (9.45) and finished ninth on vault (9.25) for Elk Grove, which finished fourth (132.65).

Lakes' Cody Ksioszk (37.05) won the all-around competition for the Eagles.

"We started on the beam and I was a little shaky (8.85), but after that I picked it up a little," said Ksioszk, after Lakes (132.2 ) took sixth place in the team competition.

In the program's first meet on Nov. 27, South Elgin/Bartlett scored 128.85 and took second place against defending state champion Fremd ( 143.95) and Buffalo Grove (127.65).

"We really didn't expect anything huge like this," said South Elgin/Bartlett sophomore Christine Bailye, who posted a 9.65 on floor (third place) and 9.3 on vault (sixth place) en route to a third-place finish in the all-around (36.25). "But taking first was really nice. It shows how well we've been progressing."

"Every meet up to this point we've had an increase in our score," said South Elgin/Bartlett coach Kathy Blaheta, a 2002 Palatine grad who competed for the Pirates in 2000. "We've been able to keep improving, keep adding more, and getting more comfortable with the high school format."

South Elgin/Bartlett's Emily Potts, a sophomore who won the all-around in a dual meet two weeks ago against Elgin/Larkin co-op, took 9th in the all-around (35.425), highlighted by a fifth-place finish on floor (9.55) and a 9.275 (seventh) on vault.

"We're still all getting used to the whole high school gymnastics thing, but we're all learning together and it keeps getting better," said Potts, who competed at Gymkhana Gymnastics Club with Bailye last season. "I had a lot of faith in us. We worked really hard before the first meet. (The team's success) didn't come as a huge surprise but it was little shocking."

Sophomore Caitlin Grega took seventh place on floor (9.45) and finished 11th in the all-around competition (34.875) for South Elgin/Bartlett.