Girls Gymnastics: Lyons Kelsy Kurfirst leads state qualifiers
Updated: February 13, 2012 6:58PM
No one said qualifying for the state meet as a team was fair.
Lyons Township, the runner-up in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division meet this season, advanced to the state meet. Conference champion Glenbard West did not.
The Hilltoppers even had a higher sectional score than LT, but it was not enough for Glenbard West to make a repeat trip to the state meet, which begins at 5 p.m. Friday at Palatine. The individual event finals will be held at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
LT earned an automatic berth by winning the Hinsdale Central Sectional with 144.05 points. LT’s sectional score ranks last among the eight state qualifying teams. But Glenbard West (144.875) finished second to the host Panthers (146.350) at the Glenbard North Sectional and was outscored by four other at-large teams for a state-meet berth.
Freshman Kelsy Kurfist will be the only LT individual competing for state honors. LT will make its second state-meet appearance in three years after the state runner-up season of 2010 behind graduates Carolyn Cozza and Taylor Southworth. Kurfirst watched the 2010 state meet from the stands as a spectator.
Kurfirst’s best opportunity to win a state championship is on the vault, where she scored a 9.725 at the sectional. Among state qualifiers, Kurfirst and Hinsdale Central junior Erin Morgan are tied for third on the vault entering the state meet behind Carmel’s Lauren Feely (9.85) and Kristin Mirski (9.80).
“This will be my last week of high school gymnastics this season,” Kurfirst said. “I want to do as much as I can this weekend.”
Kurfirst hopes to match Carolyn Cozza’s third-place finish on vault last year for LT. Cozza was fifth on vault in 2010. LT’s only vault state champion was Janne Klepek in 1984, who swept all five events that season.
“I will be extremely nervous,” Kurfirst said. “I think I will get more nervous as Friday approaches. There is no doubting that I will have jitters going into my first state meet.”
Carmel is favored to win its third consecutive state championship after scoring a sectional-high 151.75 points entering the state meet.
Lake Forest is ranked seventh among team state qualifiers with 145.375 points in the sectional.
Most competitors keep their existing routines heading into the state meet, but Kurfirst has added a new dismount to her uneven bars routine. She enters the state meet ranked sixth (9.55) in that event. Instead of a double back, she has added a double back with a full twist.
“I’ve been working on it in the gym. Hopefully, it’s ready,” Kurfirst said. “I don’t think it’s a gamble. You go all out for the state finals. You don’t have anything to lose.”
At State, Kurfirst ranks sixth on the all-around (37.90), sixth on bars (9.55), sixth on floor exercise (9.575) and is tied for 33rd on balance beam (9.05).
For LT, the state meet will take on an even special meaning for two seniors, Allison Stuck and Kalen Iffert, who will be making their only appearances with the team. LT’s other team members are Kelly Ryser and Maren Craig.
Other West Suburban Silver gymnasts at State include Hinsdale Central’s Morgan and Cayley Brenk, Glenbard West’s Missy Guzman, Mackenzie O’Keefe and Maggie Phillips and York’s Meghan Davidson.