Carlson, Lake Forest pushing for even higher scores
Lake Forest sophomore Kylie Carlson is striving for more this season.
At Saturday’s Conant Invitational, Lake Forest coach Robin Straus told her team that the goal was a top-four finish. Carlson had the Scouts thinking higher.
“One of our goals was to finish in the top two today and we did that,” Carlson said. “It was great because we see a lot of teams that we don’t normally see.”
In a strong field, the Scouts (109.95 points) finished second only to defending state champion Carmel (112.575) and just ahead of fellow state powers Schaumburg (108.85) and Glenbard West (107.225). The format allows four competitors per event with only the top three scores going toward the team total.
“Secretly I was thinking (we could finish) top two but I was giving them a little cushion there. We knew the (other) teams there were so great,” Straus said. “Kylie bumps things up. (Top-two) was her goal. She wants to push it harder, which is really a great thing.”
Carlson took third in all-around (37.05) behind Carmel sophomore and first-year high-school gymnast Lauren Feely (38.25) and Schaumburg senior Brooke Shimon (37.40).
Carlson also won vault with career-high 9.85 and was second on floor exercise (9.7) to Feely (9.75) and sixth on balance beam (9.2).
Carlson edged Carmel’s Kristin Mirski (9.8) for the vault title by landing her layout/stretch Yurchenko, a vault she tried occasionally last year besides the primary pike Yurchenko.
“I worked on that over the summer,” Carlson said. “It felt really good, especially from the block and everything. It felt like I had a lot of power.”
Last season, the Scouts qualified for state as a team for the first time since taking third in 1985 and graduated only Ashley Smith from that state lineup. Carlson, seniors Melanie Foster and Grace Kohlmeier and junior Katie Meier return. Foster, who was a team-best eighth on beam (8.75), is a team captain with Kohlmeier and seniors Caroline Kelner and Rachel Sieb from the junior varsity.
Key newcomers are sophomore Kat McKeon and freshman Brittany Moccia. In all-around, Moccia (36.30) tied for fifth and McKeon (36.15) was seventh. Moccia was fourth on vault (9.55) and seventh on beam (9.0) and tied for seventh on floor (9.25), and McKeon was fourth on uneven bars (9.1) and 10th on vault (9.2) and floor (9.15).
“We’re just trying to build upon last year -- place in the top five, top three,” Carlson said. “One of our goals is we want to make it to state again this year. We have a deep team. We have lots of veterans and four senior captains and new additions to varsity.”
At last year’s state meet, Carlson was second on floor exercise (9.6) to Prairie Ridge/District 155 co-op’s Jenny Covers (9.625) and seventh in all-around (37.30).
This season, Carlson has added plenty of new tricks on all of her events, which has actually been hindering her all-around totals at this point.
“The routines are stronger. I just need to stay on the beam I guess,” said Carlson, who still scored 9.2 with a fall. “I fell on my flip flop layout. I either make the punch front and fall on the series or I make the series and fall on the punch front so I’m going to put it together and make them both. On bars, I had some pirouetting problems. I just need to hit my bar routine and I’ll be there.”
“So she keeps counting a 9.2 (on beam) with a fall and on bars she’s missing her handstand pirouette,” Straus said. “If she hits that, then you’re looking at a 9.4 bars routine that went 8.3 (Saturday). When she does, look out. The other ones are hitting.”
Kohlmeier missed Saturday’s meet with walking pneumonia after competing on only uneven bars in the 147.85 to 146.75 loss at Stevenson Dec. 8, which put a damper on the Scouts’ chances of winning the North Suburban Conference overall title. Still, the score was a school-record for Lake Forest, eclipsing the 145.40 mark set last season.
“Our goal still is to win conference. We haven’t done that in a very long time. This was our best chance to do this. We had a good meet but so did (Stevenson),” Straus said.
“It’s like you go home and you go, ‘Yeah (we scored 146.75), but we lost.’ The (record) that stood on the record board forever was a 144.10 against Fremd and we lost that one too. That was up there for 25 years. I need this group to beat that (146.75) so that I feel better. I need them to do it in a win or at sectionals and get to state with that.”