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Carmel chasing Prairie Ridge

Warren's Becky Stochl uneven parrallel bars during Lake Forest Invitational gymnastics meet Saturday January 5 2012 Lake Forest IL. |

Warren's Becky Stochl on the uneven parrallel bars during the Lake Forest Invitational gymnastics meet on Saturday, January 5, 2012, in Lake Forest, IL. | Chandler West~For Sun-Times Media

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1) Prairie Ridge 150.0; 2) Lyons 149.675; 3) Carmel 145.625; 4) St. Charles North 142.1; 5) Conant 139.0; 6) Lake Park 135.7; 7) Warren 132.7; 8) Vernon Hills 132.0; 9) Deerfield 131.625; 10) Lake Forest 131.175; 11) Niles North 117.95.


1) Lauren Feely (Carmel) 9.85; 2) Sarah Cohen-Smith (Carmel) 9.8; 3) Rachel Underwood (Prairie Ridge) 9.7; 4) Riley Mahoney (Prairie Ridge) 9.6; 5) Kelsy Kurfirst (Lyons) 9.6.


1) Michelle Cozza (Lyons) 9.7; 2) Underwood (Prairie Ridge) 9.65; 3T) Mahoney (Prairie Ridge) 9.6; 3T) Kurfirst (Lyons) 9.6; 5) Maddie Solka (Prairie Ridge) 9.45.


1) Mahoney (Prairie Ridge) 9.45; 2) Cohen-Smith (Carmel) 9.3; 3) Kat McKeon (Lake Forest) 9.2; 4) Kelly Ryser (Lyons) 9.175; 5) Savana Meshing (Prairie Ridge) 9.15.


1) Kurfirst (Lyons) 9.85; 2) Cozza (Lyons) 9.775; 3) Underwood (Prairie Ridge) 9.75; 4) Cohen-Smith (Carmel) 9.725; 5) Mahoney (Prairie Ridge) 9.65.


1) Mahoney (Prairie Ridge) 38.35;2) Underwood (Prairie Ridge) 37.975; 3) Kurfirst (Lyons) 37.95; 4) Cozza (Lyons) 37.775; 5) Cohen-Smith (Carmel) 37.625; 6) Feely (Carmel) 37.27.

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Updated: March 9, 2013 2:37AM

When the calendar flips from December to January, the state’s elite high school gymnasts flip their own switches, amping up their routines in preparation for February’s state-tournament series.

For the last three years, the state series has ended with Carmel High School being awarded the state-championship team trophy.

But based on Saturday’s performances at the 11-team Lake Forest Invitational, the Prairie Ridge Wolves appear poised to flip the script and capture the top spot at state. Paced by a 1-2 finish in the all-around by sophomores Riley Mahoney (1st, 9.5875 average) and Rachel Underwood (2nd, 9.4938 average) the Wolves posted a 150 team score to edge Lyons of LaGrange (149.675) in the team scoring at the prestigious meet.

Carmel finished third with 145.625, and its two performers — Sarah Cohen-Smith and Lauren Feely — finished fifth and sixth in the all-around, through Feely did win the vault with 9.85 effort.

“We’re not too disappointed, but we know there’s plenty of room for improvement,” said Cohen-Smith. “There are some things we’re going to have to go back and work on in practice.”

Cohen’s best events were vault and beam, where she finished second. She was fourth on floor.

“We’re tiny but mighty,” said first-year Carmel head coach Nicole Gluzinski, a Corsair assistant for the past seven years who swapped coaching spots this winter with Sarah Mikrut-Doyle. Due to family commitments (four children, including identical twins who are 20 months old), Mikrut-Doyle opted to help Carmel as an assistant coach this winter.

Gluzinski has just five girls competing right now on the varsity level.

“We return three varsity seniors from last year. We brought up a gymnast from JV (Isabella Schneider) who has been a pretty solid leadout for us,” the coach said. “Freshman Antonia Dumill had a really good competition today (17th all-around with 8.7375 average). She has been working through some of the mental things. Hopefully, this was a breakthrough for her.

“We lost junior Cassie Wilson to an ACL injury about five weeks into the season. That takes away a little big. She was going to be a fourth or fifth scorer for us. So, we’ve battled going through that as a team. We’ve battled being a small team to begin with.”

Last year, Prairie Ridge finished third as a team at state, and Underwood was third and Mahoney sixth in the all-around. Clearly, they’re poised to move up in 2013.

Still, Mikrut-Doyle is upbeat watching the Corsairs put up some good numbers.

“I’m proud of Nicole (coach Gluzinski). She’s a former gymnast of mine,” said Mikrut-Doyle. “I’m glad she’s gotten this opportunity. I obviously never thought I would step down, but life changes.

“I miss the every-day fun of it, listening to the stories, but I feel privileged to still be a part of it. A lot of new coaches don’t want the old coach around, but she’s been very gracious.”

The only non-Carmel area girl who finished in the top five in an event was Lake Forest’s Kat McKeon, who was third on beam.

The meet served as a “Think Pink” event for the third year in a row. Participants were asked to wear pink and money raised will go to the American Cancer Society.

The next big meet for all the area teams is the Lake County Invitational on Saturday at Mundelein High School.

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