Lyons’ Kurfirst second to none on bars
Kelsy Kurfirst of Lyons performs on the vault at the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Finals on Saturday, Feb 18 2012 at Palatine High School.
Isabel Beebe, OPRF: The Huskies’ top returnee went through a learning process as a freshman last season while watching standout Morgan Wilkes, who has graduated. Beebe will be looking to make a bigger impact in the all-around. Her best score in the West Suburban Silver meet last season came on the balance beam.
Cayley Brenk, Hinsdale Central: The junior helps make the Devils the primary challenger to Lyons for the conference crown now that defending champion Glenbard West is rebuilding. Brenk tied for 26th in state all-around and also competed in the vault and uneven bars.
Michelle Cozza, Lyons: The junior made an impressive debut by taking fifth on the all-around at the Hinsdale South Invitational Nov. 21. She won vault (9.45) and tied for third on beam and placed sixth on floor.
Maren Craig, Lyons: The senior is a good bet to make her first trip to state as an individual if Lyons is unable to return as a team. Craig was Lyons’ second best all-arounder last season and scored 9s in the vault and floor exercise at the state meet.
Jessica Hawken, Hinsdale South: The Hornets’ top returning gymnast became the West Suburban Gold all-around champion last season as a sophomore while leading the Hornets to the team title. Hawken tied for seventh in the beam to open the season at the Hornet Invite.
Erin Morgan, Hinsdale Central: The state’s fourth place finisher on balance beam (9.45) also advanced on vault (11th), uneven bars (16th) and floor (19th). The senior finished 10th on all-around.
Maddie Nowak, Hinsdale South: Kelsy Kurfirst’s teammate at Action Gymnastics finished second at the Hinsdale South Invite in all-around (35.30) and was in the top three on vault, bars and beam. The freshman gives the Hornets a big boost.
Lauren Ryczek, Nazareth: The junior was the Roadrunners’ top gymnast a year ago, advancing out of regionals in all-around and beam.
Updated: December 30, 2012 3:13PM
WESTERN SPRINGS — With a last name like Kurfirst, Lyons’ top gymnast had to be first at something last season.
For the sophomore from Western Springs, that was at the state meet on uneven bars as Kelsy Kurfirst scored a 9.6 to tie Glenbard North grad Amanda Quinn for the state title.
It was a perfect punctuation to a memorable first season for Kurfirst, who in her prep debut won four of five events at the Hinsdale South Invitational and rarely had any stumbles the rest of the way. Kurfirst became only the second Lyons gymnast to win a state title on the bars — Janne Klepek won three bars championships from 1982-84.
She also won the West Suburban Silver all-around title (37.525) by taking every event except beam.
With Kurfirst back, Lyons has its sights set on a higher finish than last year’s sixth place (144.475) at state. Lyons and seventh place Glenbard North were the only schools from the west suburbs to qualify for the state meet.
Kurfirst was the third highest freshman to finish in the all-around behind the Prairie Ridge duo of Rachael Underwood (3rd) and Riley Mahoney (6th). Kurfirst (37.375) finished ninth and was the top all-arounder from a West Suburban Conference school.
“In my freshman year, I didn’t know what to expect,” Kurfirst said. “I was going into the year in untested waters. I was just going to see how it goes.”
With added skills on beam, bars and eventually a new vault, Kurfirst has even higher expectations this season. By the end of the year she hopes to upgrade her vault to a Yurchenko layout with a full twist.
Unlike many elite level gymnasts, Kurfirst never entertained notions of competing full time with her club, Action Gymnastics, in Darien.
“After last year, I was so excited,” Kurfirst said. “I love high school gymnastics so much. I enjoy competing for the school. I enjoy competing with my teammates.”
Lyons opened the season by winning the Hinsdale South Invitational (141.25) Nov. 21. Kurfirst won all-around, bars and beam.
The team will compete in Downers Grove North’s Big Purple Invitational at 2 p.m. Saturday against defending champion Fremd, a fourth place finisher at state last year.