Lone Hornet survivor won’t be alone at state gymnastics
Hinsdale South's Maddie Nowak performs on the balance beam during the Hinsdale Central girls gymnastics sectional Wednesday, February 6, 2013. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Friday Girls gymnastics: at state meet, 5 p.m.
Girls gymnastics: at state meet, 5 p.m.
Friday Girls basketball: at Little Village Regional final, 7:30 p.m.
Girls basketball: at Little Village Regional final, 7:30 p.m.
Updated: March 15, 2013 12:59PM
Maddie Nowak was the only Hinsdale South gymnast to qualify for the state meet, but she won’t be alone.
For support, the freshman will have several members of her club team also competing at Palatine, beginning with preliminaries at 5 p.m. Friday.
Nowak belongs to Action Gymnastics, which has four members competing for state-trophy favorite Lyons. Lyons won the Hinsdale Central Sectional Feb. 6.
Action club co-director Jody Raymond is the assistant coach at Hinsdale South.
“We always cheer each other on for every single meet,” Nowak said of her club teammates.
Action gymnasts from Lyons include all-around favorite Kelsy Kurfirst and specialists Olivia McGann, Maren Craig and Kelly Ryser. The top freshman all-arounder in the state meet is Shepard’s Skylor Hilger, another Action gymnast.
Hilger and Nowak are two of five freshmen to advance to the state meet in the all-around, joining Vernon Hills’ Hannah McGreevy, St. Charles North co-op’s Rachel Dugan and Barrington’s Abby Hasanov.
“I will add a few new things for state,” Nowak said. “I’m happy I qualified for the state finals in as many events as I can.”
The only event Nowak did not advance was the balance beam, where she scored 8.8 at the sectional.
Nowak’s best opportunities to reach Saturday night’s finals are on floor exercise (9.425) and uneven bars (9.475). The top 10 finishers in the prelims from each event advance to the finals. Based on her sectional scores, Nowak ranks 10th on floor and 12th on bars.
Nowak is no stranger to the state meet. She went for years to watch her cousins, Katie and Mary Burke, compete for Fremd in the 2000s. The Burke sisters combined for 17 individual state championships and both went on to compete in college.
Nowak said Mary gave her words of advice before the regional and sectional.
“(Last time), she said, ‘Don’t watch the other competitors. Focus on yourself and your team,’ ” Nowak said.
Other Hornets ended their seasons at the sectional. Lauren Haney placed 29th on all-around, 28th on bars and 30th on beam; Jessica Hawken took 27th on vault; and Taylor Daley finished 32nd on bars.