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Gymnastics: Leman, Hickey, DeKalb-Sycamore have high hopes going into state

There’s not going to be a lot scoreboard watching for the DeKalb-Sycamore girls gymnastics team Friday at the state championship in Palatine.

If the Barbs want to keep an eye on Prairie Ridge, they’ll just have to look in front of them.

The Barbs go in with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds and defending state champion Prairie Ridge will be along side them in the same rotation.

The two presumptive favorites drew the same rotation and will start on the beam Friday, with an all-around champion being decided. Also, a clear picture of who’s going to win the team title usually emerges on the first day as well before the tournament concludes Saturday.

“They had the second highest score (at a sectional) so it’s nice to see them in the same rotation,” DeKalb coach Andy Morreale said. “The girls all know each other and it should be fun. Hopefully the teams will push each other.”

DeKalb won the Glenbard North Sectional last week with a 148.575, with Aleah Leman tying defending state champ Maddie Diab of Glenbard West for the all-around title with a 38.675. At the Fremd regional, Crystal Lake finished with a 147.85, with Nikki Baars sweeping all four events to win the all-around with a 38.4.

Morreale said he thinks the all-around title is a three-gymnast battle between Leman, Baars and Diab – although he believes DeKalb-Sycamore sophomore Maddie Hickey has a shot as well. She claimed the all-around title at the conference tournament and the regional, and was fifth at state last year.

“She’s kind of a tiger – she always wants to win,” Morreale said. “You can see it in her personality. I think she’ll be top five for sure but I think she can make a run for that top spot also.”

Hickey’s all-around wins were the first of her career, and the first time she finished ahead of Leman. At the conference meet, Leman slipped on the beam, then missed a landing on her floor routine – she’s the defending state champion in that event – at the regional.

Morreale said Leman’s co-win at the sectional, against the defending state champ no less, came at the perfect time for the senior.

“I think her having a good meet settled her down a bit,” Morreale said of Hickey, who was third on the bars and fifth on the floor last year. “She’s been pressing a little bit, putting too much pressure on herself being a senior.”

Leman had a slip-up on the bars last year that kept her from a possible all-around title, finishing third. She was third on the vault and second on the beam

“I want to go out there for my team,” Leman said. “I want to go out there and hit everything I can for my team. If it ends up being we’re tied again, that awesome. If it ends up she beats me, that’s awesome too cause she really deserves it. I just want to go out there and do my best for my team.”

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