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Girls gymnastics: Hickey wins first all-around as DeKalb-Sycamore wins conference meet

DeKALB – Madison Hickey hadn’t won an all-around title in her prep career.

After Saturday, the sophomore on the DeKalb-Sycamore co-op team can call herself an all-around conference champion.

Hickey finished with a 38.575, beating senior teammate Aleah Leman’s 38.175 to claim the all-around title at the Upstate 8 Conference Tournament at DeKalb High School. Leman was well ahead of third-place finisher Emma Grace Redmond-Mattuci from the St. Charles co-op.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” Hickey said. “We’ve all worked so hard. ... We just ended up with a really great day.”

The Barbs won the conference title and finished the meet with 149.2 points, ahead of runner-up Geneva’s 143.575. They won’t have long to rest, as they host a regional tournament Monday.

Coach Andy Morreale said the Barbs – who haven’t lost a meet this year – feel very confident heading into the regional, which starts at 6 p.m., even with barely 48 hours rest.

“If it was a tough regional, then, yes, that would be a tough turnaround,” Morreale said.

Hickey said the team is in a good position heading into the regional.

“Me and the whole team are feeling great,” Hickey said. “We’re really tired, but (Sunday) we’re going to rest and Monday is going to be a whole new day. We’re just going to go out there and try to win.

Hickey will head into the tourney as the conference champ, taking first or second in every event. In the two events she was second, she trailed only Leman.

“It’s a great time to be peaking for her,” Morreale said. “She’s had great practices up until now. Her consistency has been phenomenal. We knew this was coming.”

Leman won the bars and floor, and was second to Hickey in the vault. On the balance beam, Leman missed the beam completely and fell. Even with the mistake, she finished with a 9.05 and tied for seventh with teammate Samantha Keating.

Morreale said the miscue was nothing more than a fluke.

“It wasn’t as if she hit and had a big bobble. Her foot just missed,” Morreale said. “She kind of took her eyes off the beam. She’s the type of person if she has a mistake, she’ll buckle down and get it the next time.”

By the numbers: Hickey won the vault with a 9.725 and the beam with a 9.55. She was second in the bars (9.55) and floor (9.75). Leman won the bars (9.675) and the floor (9.775) and was second in the vault (9.675). The Barbs had two other medalist – Lauren Leman was third on the bars with a 9.5, and Kaitlyn Nelson was fifth on the floor with a 9.25.

Beyond the stats: Kayla Fowler, while competing in the floor exercise, fell to the ground after a landing and had to end her routine, being helped off the mat. She was wearing a knee brace on her left knee from a previous ACL tear, and Morreale said she reinjured it, although he did not know the extent. He said he doesn’t expect her to compete Monday.

They said it: “We have to keep our mental status nice and steady,” Hickey said about the team’s focus level. “We have a lot of ups and downs sometimes, but I think this team has gone through so much that we’re just going to do really good.”

Up next: The team hosts a regional at 6 p.m. Monday. The only other Upstate 8 team competing in it will be the U-46 co-op.

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