Younger Lyons teammates surprise Craig
La Grange, IL - Wednesday, January 9, 2013: Lyons Township's senior Maren Craig competes on the vault during Senior Night. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Friday Boys basketball: OPRF, 7:30 p.m.
Boys basketball: OPRF, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday Girls basketball: St. Ignatius Regional, 7:30 p.m.
Girls basketball: St. Ignatius Regional, 7:30 p.m.
Updated: March 8, 2013 7:16AM
In her third varsity season, gymnast Maren Craig feels like the team’s big sister as Lyons attempts to qualify for another trip to the state meet.
Craig is one of two seniors — along with Jessica Lyons — for Lyons, which was scheduled to compete in the Hinsdale Central Sectional Wednesday with state qualifying berths on the line. Lyons was favored to win the sectional based on its season-high score of 149.775 at its Lyons Regional.
Craig planned to compete on vault, floor exercise and balance beam. Following the completion of Thursday’s Stevenson Sectional, gymnasts will learn what at-large berths they gained for the state meet Feb. 15-16 at Palatine.
The addition of club gymnasts Michelle Cozza and Katie Carling, both juniors, has given Lyons a boost. The Lions, who placed sixth in last year’s state meet, are led by top all-arounder Kelsy Kurfirst, a sophomore who is the defending champ on uneven bars.
“They are so good and so young,” Craig said. “I’m having a fun time helping them and leading them.”
Craig doesn’t show her younger teammates what to do, but is there when they need advice.
A specialist, Craig recorded three season-high scores in the 9s this season: 9.65 on beam and 9.5 on vault Dec. 14; and 9.45 on floor on Jan. 12.
Craig said she feels her strongest event is beam.
“I think my scores are right at that (state) level,” Craig said. “When I stick (the beam), I can definitely go mid-9s. I hope I can pull a good routine out and stick it.”
Craig’s big-sister role for this year’s gymnastics team was inspired by her own big sister, Madelon, a student at DePaul. Madelon’s best sport was water polo and scored at least 26 goals for Lyons’ first state championship team in 2010.
The underlying question is how well the young Lyons can mature in time for state meet. Even Craig has been surprised at her team’s development.
“I had no clue. I didn’t know how (the newcomers) competed,” Craig said. “I didn’t know how well they would do under pressure. It’s been a surprise since we had our first high score (148.85 at the Lyons Invite Dec. 14).”