Girls gymnastics: Bartnik, Bachara, Hinckley all win individual state event titles
The first time Julia Bartnik competed on vault for Lake Park she broke her leg.
The last time she did it she won a state title.
The Lake Park junior won vault while a couple other DuKane Conference gymnasts won on beam and floor, Downers Grove co-op won its first state title and Geneva was third at Saturday's IHSA girls gymnastics state finals.
"During [Bartnik's] first meet at Lake Park, on her first vault, she landed and broke her leg and missed her freshman year," Lancers coach Jake Luketin said. "When you have a serious injury like that sometimes a gymnast is just done. It's scary and a long recovery, and after taking so much time away it's easy to be done."
Bartnik is far from done.
She remained a part of the team after it happened, growing and contributing as a teammate and friend even if she couldn't dazzle like she would do a couple years later in Palatine.
"She puts everything into making her weaknesses her strengths," Luketin said. "She comes from a park district background at the Bloomingdale Park District, so to come in here and compete against Level 9 and Level 10s, it says something special about her and a lot about her growth and everything she's put in."
Bartnik tied Warren senior Amanda Hamann with a 9.775 on vault. Hamann put up her big score early while Bartnik competed near the end of the set.
"I'm just really proud of myself. (The injury) really helped me to work harder and push through," Bartnik said. "I've tried my best the whole season for this moment. I tried to perfect my vault this season and felt like it really showed today."
Bartnik's stellar performance wasn't restricted to the vault either. She also appeared on the award stand with third on beam with 9.425 and fifth on floor with 9.325.
Glenbard North senior Carly Bachara may have tired of the repetition of practicing beam, but won't complain about how the hard work paid off. She won with 9.575.
"It was so exciting," she said. "Such a burst of joy. I couldn't stop smiling. My cheeks started hurting."
Those aches and pains from rep after rep after rep led her coach Denny Wellman to remark, "She will probably say she hates me because I made her do so many reps but now she probably loves me."
"He probably said that because it was numbers, the reps," Bachara said. "I was just being really inconsistent with what I was doing and he kept persisting more and more, telling me I need to do more this time."
More excellence from the DuKane was provided by Wheaton Warrenville co-op junior Haylie Hinckley who won floor exercise with a 9.65, just ahead of Glenbard West's Sammy Hopper who wrapped this year's finals as the last participant.
"I have been trying so hard for this," Hinckley said. "It's really paying off so I'm really happy about it."
And she's not the least bit surprised to see her fellow conference gymnasts star.
"We had a really hard conference this year so it was nice to see such excellence at state," she said. "I've gotten to know some of the girls better during the high school meets so that's been exciting. I'm happy for everyone."
Downers Grove co-op senior Emily Smetana took seventh on floor with 9.25, an increase from Friday's 9.175 and that increased the Trostangs final score of 145.575 to win the team state title.
None of the other teams switched positions either. Vernon Hills was runner-up with 144.975 and Geneva was third with 143.425. Lake Park was fifth with 141.925.
Sophomore Genevieve Herion matched her 9.325 on bars from Friday and tied for third place on bars while performing again in the other three events for the Trostangs.
Senior Kate Snouffer was seventh on beam with 9.1 and in seventh heaven.
"I honestly haven't even processed it yet," Snouffer said. "I know I competed. I know I was on the podium, but I'm still getting used to that we are champions. It's just amazing. We gave it our all and it's so amazing."
The Trostangs executed on Friday to put themselves in a great position to win, outscoring themselves by over a full point from the Hinsdale South sectional to take a comfortable lead.
"They gave it all emotionally and physically yesterday, so they trained for this," Downers Grove co-op coach Kristyn Campos said. "They've been picking up steam every week and getting a little better and better. Our motto has been 'better, not best,' and we wanted to be out best here, and that's all we can ask for. I'm thrilled."
Friday's epic performance not withstanding, the Trostangs put a lot in well before that to get to such a special place.
"I would say it's not yesterday that gave us this title, but it was all the years before," Snouffer said. "All the years before this, the last 16 years of Campos as coach and the past four years I've been here. It's all led up to this one moment. It's been decades-long in the making, I'd say."
Geneva senior Sadie Karlson scored higher on floor than she did in the preliminaries. The Vikings didn't need it, but it provided a great final performance for Karlson and ultimately her efforts helped Geneva take third place.
Karlson tied for fifth place with Bartnik. Junior Graci Weems was ninth with 9.15.
Glenbard West senior Skylar Oh was eighth on floor with 9.2 and 10th on bars with 8.85.