The Palatine High School Girls Varsity Gymnastics team finished first at the Oldham Invitational Saturday at Palatine, beating out seven other area schools.
The Pirates, led by junior Abby Alden, finished with a 139.45, edging Libertyville who finished second with a 136.775. Prospect High School finished in third with a 133.55. Palatine won every event except bars, where they initially struggled, but finished strong.
“Our team started on vault and it’s our strong event, so we got a lot of energy from that,” said junior all-arounder Nicole Kuksuk. “Bars we’ve been working hard on but after today, we still need to work harder.”
The Pirates moved to beam where they had a few falls, but bounced back on floor with a solid performance from all five competitors.
Alden finished first in the all-around with a 36.425, hitting all four events. She won beam with a 9.325, finished fourth on vault with a 9.20, and fifth on floor with a 9.10. Kuksuk finished second on vault with a 9.30, and nailed her floor routine for a third place finish with a 9.175.
The Pirates also relied on junior all-arounder Megan Hedstrom for her skills on each event. Freshmen Claudia Przystal and Andrea Ori also competed strongly for the Pirates, along with junior Alissa Judson. The lone senior of the team, Marissa Mallon, was unable to compete because of sickness, but is happy with where the team is.
“The team pulled together today,” said Mallon. “We’re playing off each other’s skills and really just enjoying the season.”
The Pirates hadn’t won the Oldham Invite since 2007.
“We knew we hadn’t won since 2007, so our goal was to go out there and win,” said Kukuk. Hedstrom echoed Kuksuk’s thoughts.
“The team was confident and just wanted to win today,” she said.
Palatine is coached by Terry Theobald, who is in his 18th season as head coach for the Pirates. The assistant coaches are Edmar Nicolas and Kathy Blaheta. The Pirates face cross-town rival Fremd High School along with Conant at their next meet on Wednesday, Jan. 4. The meet begins at 6:30 p.m. at Fremd High School.