Girls gymnastics: Batavia edges Geneva

By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/8/2021 10:24 PM

There was a collective roar from the Batavia gymnasts after it was announced that the Bulldogs slipped past host Geneva, 136.85 to 136.2 in Wednesday's DuKane Conference meet.

"It was really exciting," Batavia junior Grace Cooper said. "I didn't get to compete last year because of some medical things, and this was my first time competing at Geneva. I didn't think it was going to be close. That was crazy. I was literally screaming, it was so awesome."


Cooper edged senior teammate Natalie Hayden, 35 to 34.9, to finish second and third respectively in the all-around.

Hayden won vault with a 9.1 and floor with an 8.9.

"I was really proud of both of them," she said. "Mostly my floor because it's so fun to do with your teammates dancing and cheering around you, and especially at this meet. We always have so much fun here on floor."

The Bulldogs finished on beam with Cooper's 9.1 and senior Jackie Nelson's winning score of 9.3.

"I was kind of nervous for beam, like I always am, but was just trying to have fun," Nelson said. "I know I've been trying my best in practice and just ended up having a very good beam day. It's always when I'm having a lot of fun that I do my best."

Seniors Maggie Connell and Hannah Vrba contributed key scores for the Bulldogs with Connell earning an 8.3 on floor and Vrba recording an 8.65 on vault. They both also delivered a 7.7 on bars. Sophomore Marisa Serpico had a 32.9 in the all-around, highlighted by an 8.8 on vault.

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"They did great," Batavia coach Taryn Boyce said. "They're genuinely having a lot of fun and all I ask of them is to try their hardest, to have fun and not make it a competition."

Geneva outscored Batavia on bars and beam and was only outscored by 0.1 on floor, but the Bulldogs proved to be especially strong on vault with a 35.55 to Geneva's 34.35.

"We had a few mistakes but we're just going to keep at it and we have some new skills to add in there, but we'll get there," Geneva coach Kim Hostman said. "We're looking forward to getting that first 140."

Sophomore Brooke Lussnig has gotten off to a terrific start this winter, which continued with her all-around 35.5 victory as she had the second-highest floor and beam scores and tied for second on bars and vault.


"I'm really glad with how things have gone so far," she said. "I was a little nervous after club and with all the changes from club, but so far it's been great, I really like it."

Lussnig got a taste of high school gymnastics in the spring but finally experienced an invite last weekend at the Al Galatte Holiday Invitational.

"It was great to experience that," she said. "I really enjoy doing vault because I love flipping and landing and I also like bars, which is my favorite event. At first it was really hard for me but I kept working for it and it's now my favorite event."

Senior Kate Nitschke won bars with an 8.6 and was third on floor with an 8.6 while sophomore Graci Weems had a 32.6 in the all-around, contributing three key scores including an 8.95 on beam to lead the Vikings along with Lussnig.

The young Vikings are contributing as freshman Emma Wiedenhoeft earned a 7.7 on bars and 8.3 on vault and sophomore Maeve Devlin was fourth on beam with a 9 and added an 8.1 on floor. Maura Anderson, Ellie Ebert and Abby Tomko also added to the team's total.

"The team has a lot of potential," Lussnig said. "We've all known each other a pretty long time too and I think we're going to keep improving after every meet."

The same can be said for their rivals.

"Obviously we have a season of dual meets and invites ahead of us, but also postseason which we didn't get to have last year," Hayden said. "So it's really exciting to have that back this year, and to be doing this well early on it gives us a lot to look forward to."

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