Lyons Gymnasts Take 3rd in Big Purple Invite
Maren Craig takes third place in the all-around with a 33.725 to pace the Lions.
Last year Lyons Township almost ended Fremd's ridiculously long consecutive titles streak in the Mike Williams Big Purple Invite at Downers Grove North.
Almost is the key word as the Vikings did what they needed to do on beam and held off the Lions.
On Saturday, Fremd edged Libertyville, 103.750 to 103.00 while Lyons Township took third with a 101.425 as Fremd claimed its 18th straight title, a streak that started the same year that Pearl Jam jumped on the music scene with "Ten."
None of the Lions gymnasts came close to scoring a Perfect 10, but the team came away satisfied with some of the things they were able to accomplish.
"I don't have a blanket statement of what we wanted to do today because it was different for each girl," Lyons Township coach Kari Karubas said. "For Carolyn (Cozza), we needed to work on certain things on floor and diluted her tumbling. And we focused on some of her leaps, jumps and some of her dance and expression."
Maren Craig was the top performer for the Lions, finishing in third place overall in the all-around with a 33.725. She also tied for third on beam with an 8.55. Katie Oeltgen was the only other all-around competitor for the Lions and she closed with a 32.2. Claire Bonistalli took third place on vault with a 9.1 and tied for third on bars with an 8.275.
"I know I could've done better but I'm happy because this was my first meet competing on floor and I was happy with my saves on the events," Craig said. "The good thing about these meets is that you can learn from them."
In addition to working on some new things in her floor routine, where she placed second with a 9.125, Cozza attempted a new skill on bars. She wasn't successful, but still placed second with an 8.45.
"She fell but she still got second," Karubas said. "So it was a victory, but a bittersweet victory."
Cozza had no problem accepting her second-place medals but is inspired to get back into the gym to continue working on the upgrades to her bars and floor exercise routines.
"It's disappointing that what I worked on the in the gym didn't totally transfer over to this meet," she said. "But I'll learn from this, get back into the gym, and come back stronger."
The Lions would've had a better chance of ending Fremd's winning streak if they would've had senior captain and standout all-arounder Taylor Southworth in the lineup. Karubas opted to rest Southworth and give some other gymnasts and opportunity to compete.
"It was a different coaching strategy and I wanted to see if some of the other girls would rise to the top in her absence," Karubas said. "It's not winning this little battle, but helping us with the whole war."