Buffalo Grove's Tangorra notches top bars score at state

  • Prospect's Emily Gianfrancesco competes in the floor exercise during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday at Palatine High School.

      Prospect's Emily Gianfrancesco competes in the floor exercise during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Palatine's Jocie Waddington celebrates her uneven parallel bars routine during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday at Palatine High School.

      Palatine's Jocie Waddington celebrates her uneven parallel bars routine during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Palatine's Jocie Waddington competes in the uneven parallel bars during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Palatine's Jocie Waddington competes in the uneven parallel bars during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Palatine's Jocie Waddington competes on the balance beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Palatine's Jocie Waddington competes on the balance beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Palatine's Jocie Waddington competes on the balance beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Palatine's Jocie Waddington competes on the balance beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Hoffman Estates' Elyssa Wuerffel competes on the balance beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Hoffman Estates' Elyssa Wuerffel competes on the balance beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Hoffman Estates' Elyssa Wuerffel competes on the balance beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School.

      Hoffman Estates' Elyssa Wuerffel competes on the balance beam during the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final meet Friday February 18, 2022 at Palatine High School. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/18/2022 10:17 PM

Girls state gymnastics was back Friday at Palatine after a one year hiatus. But for the first time since the inception of the state meet in 1977, the meet did not feature a team from the Northwest suburbs.

But nearly all the schools were represented Friday, when qualifying for individual events, along with the all-around were contested.

 

Prospect's Emily Gianfrancesco, Buffalo Grove's Olivia Tangorra, Hersey's Sabrina Nemcek, Rolling Meadows' Brooklyn Hextall and Hoffman Estates' Elyssa Wuerffel all were able to qualify in individual events and move on to Saturday's event finals at 2 p.m.

Gianfrancesco came up with a solid day. The sophomore not only qualified for the vault finals with a 9.60, but she was eighth in the all-around with a 36.95.

"I am so excited," Gianfrancesco said. "It has been a great meet. I competed some new skills that I have not competed this season. It is super exciting to do them and make them."

The bars were a huge event for NW suburbs gymnasts with three qualifiers.

Tangorra, who is a senior, had the top qualifying score on the bars with a 9.45. Nemcek, who is a freshman, also qualified on the bars with a 9.30. Also qualifying in the event was Hextall, who is a junior and scored a 9.275.

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"The pirouettes have been a struggle throughout the year," Hextall said. "But this week I worked really hard on having my pirouettes really consistent. I have been doing sets. My double back was really good too. "

Wuerffel, who is a senior, also had a very good day. She qualified on the beam with a 9.375 and was 26th in the all-around with a 35.85.

"It went really well, " said Wuerffel, who had qualified for the finals before, but never for the all-around.

"It was actually lots of fun. I wanted to absorb my last meet ever in gymnastics. I am hoping to do well (Saturday)."

Palatine's Jocie Waddington finished 20th in the all-around with a 36.15.

Leyden's Sefora Hanc became the first gymnast from her school to qualify for the individual finals since 2011. Hanc scored an 8.225 on the bars, but came back with an impressive 9.325 on the beam. Unfortunately, her beam score was 12th overall and she just missed qualifying for Saturday's individual finals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I am really happy about making it here," said Hanc, who is a junior. "It was a lot of fun. We just put the flip-flop in this week and this was the first time I performed it. I was happy to hit it."

Prairie Ridge leads the team competition with a 147.90. Vernon Hills is second with a 146.475 while DeKalb is third with a 146.30. The teams can add to their point total during the individual finals.

Prairie Ridge's Gracie Willis and DeKalb's Madeline Kees tied for the all-around title with a 37.80. Stevenson's Ashley Schabes was third with a 37.70.

The Patriots' junior finished third in the all-around with a 37.70. She also qualified for the individual finals in the vault and the floor.

"It was best meet of the year for me by far," said Schabes. "I have been practicing really hard this year. I think that everything came together at the perfect time."

Stevenson's Ally Gitler qualified in the bars and the floor.

Stevenson was back at the state finals for the first time in 10 years. The Patriots had to overcome an injury to Maya Ferguson, who was injured during warmups.

"This is one of my nicest teams ever," said Stevenson coach Judy Harwood, who has been coaching the Patriots since 1991.

"It is a special bunch. It was hard for the team when Maya got hurt, but they really stepped up."

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