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Corcoran stars as Palatine takes championshp
By Chris Walker | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 1/6/2008 12:46 AM

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Palatine's lengthy bus ride back home Saturday night had to be an enjoyable experience for the victorious Pirates.

The Pirates hit a score of 142.224 to capture team honors in the Naperville North girls gymnastics invitational Saturday.

"We did good today considering we were on break and are working on new stuff," said Palatine coach Terry Theobald. "We didn't do routines and had some errors but had a good meet to start the year off with the teams here and to get ready for the season."

Rachel Corcoran led the way for Palatine by capturing first place in the all-around competition.

Corcoran averaged 37.725, including a first place on balance beam (9.35), second on vault (9.625), second on uneven bars (9.375) and second place on floor exercise (9.375).

Naperville North (140.650) and Glenbard West (140.425) came close to derailing Palatine, the second-place state finisher in 2007.

"Our goal was to finish in the top three," Hilltoppers coach Carlos Fuentes said. "This was the first time where we had almost our full lineup and we were excited to be there."

It proved to be another great stepping stone for the Hilltoppers, who expect to continue to get better and head toward the postseason as one of the teams to beat in the state.

"We probably were at 90 percent tonight and will only get better," Fuentes said.

Courtney Gonzalez led the way for the Hilltoppers finishing in third place on the vault and beam.

Naperville North's second-place finish was due in great part to Sami Piotrowski. A year after scoring a career-best 38.125 in the all-around in this same invite, the senior came up short in winning the all-around but claimed top honors in vault, bars and floor exercise.

"I think it was a combination of everything just working well," Piotrowski said. "It all seemed to work well and what I can I say? It was a good time."

Her teammates obliged. There was Megan McClerran, who finished with an 8.925 on vault and 9.075 on beam, and Tori Tanaka, who also contributed with 8.675 on bars and 8.825 beam.

Huskies coach Chris Stanicek realizes this Huskies season could be a very special one.

"We need to work on the mental game," he said. "I think we have to get out scores and understand that the mental game is holding us back. If we work on that aspect I think we'll be fine and I think we're where we need to be right now."

Glenbard East struggled among the teams, finished in seventh place (131.025), but coach Jessica Stob was pleased with the team's effort and growth during the holiday break.

"We did pretty well but still had too many falls on beam, which we need to improve on," she said. "We need to add some more skills and improve our scores, but overall this meet went pretty well."

Naperville Central ended up in eighth place but coach Glen Reimers was pleased with what he witnessed with his inexperienced squad.

"Traditionally this hasn't been a good meet for us," he said. "We need to spend a lot of time doing new skills and tricks and we had a long period off so we didn't work a lot of routines."