PALATINE – Nothing like two individual state titles and a second-place showing as a team to erase any lingering regrets.
A day after falling out of contention for a state title at the IHSA state gymnastics tournament, the DeKalb-Sycamore co-op secured its second-place finish for the second year in a row, with senior Aleah Leman winning the vault and sharing the title on the bars Saturday.
“Yesterday there was a little bit of a sense we could have done more,” Leman said. “We had some regrets here and there; I know I had some about my performance. But this morning we got up and knew we had a chance at second place. We came out and got it, and now we can celebrate another big trophy.”
Leman scored a 9.875 on the vault to start the day, upping her score from the preliminary round and pushing the Barbs’ lead over third-place Glenbrook South.
The Barbs finished with a 146.95, while Prairie Ridge scored 148.8 for its third straight title. Glenbrook South was third with a 146.675.
Leman followed with a 9.525 on the bars, tying with Glenbard West’s Maddie Diab for the title. Last year, a slip on the bars in the preliminaries cost her an all-around title. This year, she finished fifth in the all-around on Friday, her third straight year taking a medal in the all-around. She also won an individual state title in each of her three prep seasons – winning the vault as a sophomore and the floor last year.
“Being a little off yesterday, she really just let it go today,” DeKalb-Sycamore coach Andy Morreale said. “She had a great day. Two for two.”
Sophomores Lauren Leman and Madison Hickey had the chance to medal for the second straight year, but both came up short. Lauren Leman, who medaled on the bars last year, finished in a tie for seventh with a 9.45. Hickey, a medalist on both the floor and bars last year, tied for seventh on the vault with a 9.6.
Morreale said sometimes it’s hard to compete as a sophomore than as a freshman.
“Sometimes freshmen, they just don’t know what to expect,” Morreale said. “They’re young and they don’t know any better. As a sophomore, they know what it’s about and the pressure, and it’s how they respond to it.”
The Barbs came into the preliminary round Friday without a loss on the season, with either Hickey or Aleah Leman winning the all-around each time out.
“I think the girls were a little disappointed (after Friday), and I told them we had a great season,” Morreale said. “We went undefeated (until state) and took second place in the state. ... I think the first one is always the hardest. Prairie Ridge, they always tried to get past Carmel, I think. I think it’s tough because you press to get that first one. To come out in second is still a heck of an accomplishment.”
It wasn’t the state title that Morreale and his team thought they had a good chance of winning, but it was another second-place showing for a team that is losing only two seniors.
“I’m very proud of them,” Aleah Leman said. “We get to take home a second big trophy and go home and celebrate and I get to enjoy the last few hours with them as a team.”