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Geneva girls gymnastics starts strong, wins regional

Geneva’s Claire Scatterday competes on the beam during the IHSA Regional Gymnastics meet Thursday at Geneva High School.
Geneva’s Claire Scatterday competes on the beam during the IHSA Regional Gymnastics meet Thursday at Geneva High School.

GENEVA – Geneva girls gymnasts checked the latest item off their itinerary Thursday, rolling to an IHSA regional title in the comfortable surroundings of the Mack Olson gym.

The Vikings registered a 147.25 team score – nearly a 10-point cushion against their nearest competitor, the U-46 co-op (137.775) – to vault into Tuesday's Wheaton Warrenville South Sectional.

Individually, senior Dominique Brognia won the all-around title with a 37.675, edging freshman teammate Claire Ginsberg, who was runner-up with a 37.575.

"We all did our best we could," Brognia said. "We still made a few mistakes .. but it was still great."

The top five finishers in each event and the all-around advanced to sectionals. Megan Beitzel won the vault for Geneva with a 9.6, starting a sweep that included teammates Claire Ginsberg (9.55), Brognia (9.475), McKenna Merges (9.425) and Grace Ginsberg (9.3).

Claire Ginsberg captured the bars title with a 9.4, and will be joined at sectionals by Brognia (9.05, third) and Beitzel (8.45, fifth).

Geneva romped to a near-sweep in the balance beam, behind champion Brognia (9.475). Claire Scatterday and the Ginsberg sisters are sectional-bound in the event, while floor exercise champ Claire Ginsberg (9.7) will be joined by Brognia and Scatterday at sectionals.

Grace Ginsberg was fifth in the all-around with a 35.25.

Geneva, which established a program-best team score of 149.15 at the Upstate Eight Conference meet last week, won the Illinois' Best Invitational at Wheaton Warrenville South in late December.

By then, the Vikings already had strong premonitions that a special season was upon them. With much of the nucleus returning from a fifth-place state team in 2013 – plus the addition of freshman Claire Ginsberg, younger sister of Grace – it was simply a matter of trusting their skills.

"We just are constantly consistent with our routines," Scatterday said this week. "We just try to focus on sticking every time and keeping our routines clean, which helps us get really nice, high scores as a team."

The Vikings know what they need to focus on in their short practice time entering sectionals. The team still won the bars with a 35.25, but there were a few mistakes. Brognia, for one, knew something was off with her bail, her first maneuver in the event.

"We'll fix the things we need to on bars," coach Kim Hostman said. "We feel like we'll be where we need to be."

It's been a banner week for the graceful sports set at Geneva. On Saturday, the competitive dance team captured the 2A state championship at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, and was greeted by the student body during a parade through the school halls during first hour Monday morning.

Brognia's younger sister, sophomore Diana, is part of the dance team. The siblings occasionally talk shop about the overlap between their sports, which for Dominique largely is limited to the floor exercise.

"A lot of the lines and pointed toes and the arms and stuff like that, just to look nice and pretty," Dominique Brognia said. "That definitely is the same."

Vikings gymnasts still aren't afraid to roll up their sleeves, though, as evidenced by their efficiency in helping prepare the gym for competition.

"It's very quick. Very quick," Hostman said this week. "We set up the whole floor and the bars and everything down there. It used to take us two hours. Now it takes us about 40 minutes, if that."

At sectionals, such heavy lifting will be left to Wheaton Warrenville South athletes or administrators.

Tonight, the St. Charles co-op will compete for sectional berths at the York Regional. On Tuesday, Batavia sophomore Megan McGee advanced from the Wheaton Warrenville South Regional in the vault (third-place finish) and all-around (fifth).

At-large qualifiers for each event and the all-around will be announced Monday.

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