Hornets charging toward another crown
Hinsdale, 12/08/12--Hinsdale South's Jessica Hawken competes on the beam. Hinsdale Central High School hosted the Red Devil Invite for girls gymnastics Saturday morning. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 25, 2013 1:19AM
DARIEN — Hinsdale South girls gymnastics coach Jennifer Fichter sticks with the one-meet-at-a-time approach.
Before focusing on the West Suburban Gold meet at 5 p.m. Saturday, Fichter’s squad was scheduled for one more dual meet at Addison Trail Wednesday night; the meet was postponed from Dec. 5.
The defending conference champion Hornets haven’t lost in the Gold this season. Their biggest scare came against Downers Grove South Jan. 17, before pulling out a 133.80-133.20 victory.
Before 2012, Hinsdale hadn’t won the Gold since 2007.
The expectations have increased since the addition this season of freshman Maddie Nowak, who ranks as the Hornets’ No. 1 all-arounder with a season-high 37.70 at Willowbrook Jan. 9. Nowak has been solid everywhere this season, owning highs of 9.5 on vault, 9.55 on uneven bars, 9.45 on balance beam and 9.45 on floor exercise.
“(Nowak) has been delightful,” Fichter said. “She’s young (and a pleasure) to coach.”
She will be the prohibitive favorite to win the conference all-around title Saturday at Hinsdale South as well as the Hinsdale Central regional crown at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 31. The top competition there will be Action Gymnastics Club teammate Skylor Hilger, a freshman at Shepard, who is competing as an individual. Hilger’s all-around season high of 36.60 came at the Lyons Invitational Dec. 14.
In her most recent invitational, Nowak placed fourth on the all-around (36.425) at Neuqua Valley Jan. 12. She took third on bars (9.375) and scored 8.55 on beam to place eighth.
The regional will be an Action club reunion. Others who train at the Darien club include Hinsdale South’s Lauren Haney, Jessica Hawken and Taylor Daley.
Against Downers South, Hawken was the only Hornets gymnast to go without a fall. She lately has been third in the all-around behind Nowak and Haney.
The Hornets do not have a single senior on the varsity. The only juniors are Shur Batmunkh, Daley, Hawken and Jorie Smith.
“We have not peaked yet,” Fichter said.
The Hornets are the No. 7 seed in the Feb. 6 Hinsdale Central sectional. The Red Devils are seeded No. 2 behind Lyons.
“The team goal is to win conference. Really, we would like to qualify (for sectional) as team at the regional,” Fichter said. “The girls have that in the back of their minds.”