PALATINE – About the only thing brighter than the future for Glenbard East girls gymnastics may be for freshman Kali Kartheiser.
In her first state meet, Kartheiser reached the event finals Saturday and placed eighth on uneven parallel bars (9.375), .075 from top-five, all-state honors.
“I had a lot of fun," Kartheiser said. "It was very nerve-wracking, though. I feel like I did my best out there."
Only top-10 finishers in Friday’s preliminaries advance to event finals. Kartheiser is believed to be the Rams’ first event state finalist since 1993. The Rams have never had an all-stater.
“There’s extremely hard competition. I was a little nervous but I knew in my heart that I was going to make [finals],” Kartheiser said. “It definitely motivates me to work harder, to get better skills so I can be up there on the podium. It’s very important to me, thinking that I did represent my school very well.”
Junior Sierra Olson and freshman Becca Honig also were individual state qualifiers in the best season in program history. The Rams reached sectionals as a team after winning their first regional and scoring a school-record 144.20 Jan. 24.
From the sectional lineup, they only graduate two seniors who combined for three routines.
“Our whole team has been pretty consistent. It’s been an awesome year,” said Glenbard East coach Jessica Bugajsky. “Every kid got a 9 on every event we did [at state] so it was amazing. This is a first for me [in finals, too] so it’s exciting.”