Things are beginning to look up for the Brookfield Central/East co-op gymnastics team, coach Erin Kokta said.
"Our team keeps growing each year," she said. "This year we have 17 girls on the team, which is the most we have had in my seven years of coaching at Brookfield. I'm very excited to see where the season is going to take us this year.
"We have some great additions to our team this year in talent and in work ethic. It's great to see that the returners have put in a lot of work in the off-season. As a team we have already passed where we were at this point last season. It truly is a great group of girls."
Brookfield has four seniors — Kelsey Linsmeier of East, Tori Rieves of Central and Katie Krugel and Cecily Roberts, both of East, to provide leadership this season.
Linsmeier is the top returnee, starting her second season as captain and coming off last year's MVP honors. She was the sectional winner on beam last season and an all-around and beam state qualifier, finishing seventh on beam at state. Rieves is also a captain.
Sophomores Hope Peterson of Central, last year's team "Newcomer of the Year" Award winner, and Allie Bullen of East also return.
Kokta also pointed out two newcomers who should step up.
Sophomore Amanda Pennow of Central will be a strong all-around competitor this year.
"She is solid on all four events and has the potential to make some noise at the state level this year," Kokta said.
The other is freshman Caitlin Laconte of Central.
"As a freshman, she is already showing a lot of promise to be a solid all-around competitor," Kokta said. "Caitlin is another newcomer that has the potential to do well at the state level."
Kokta got her first coaching win on Dec. 11 at Grafton, as Brookfield (131.075) defeated Grafton/Cedarburg (119.375) and Shorewood (103.35).
Pennow took first in vault (8.9), bars (9.125) and beam (9.15); was third on floor (8.275) and finished first all-around (35.45).
Locante won the floor (8.625) and finished second on bars (8.675), beam (8.7) and vault (8.45) to take second all-around (34.45).
Linsmeier took third on vault (8.3).
Even the JV won — Brookfield (100.7), Grafton/Cedarburg (67.45), Shorewood (33.25).
Allie Bullen was first in all-around (27.35), taking second in vault (7.9) and beam (6.8) and third on bars (6.05) and floor (6.6). Tiffany Bianco was first on floor (6.95) and third on beam (6.0).
Other winners were Elena Fayle on beam (7.0) and Olga Boukhvalova on vault (8.0).
"The team had a great first meet," Kokta said. "It was great to get this first win. I'm happy with starting our team score at at 131, especially since we competed on a nonspring floor so most of the girls couldn't compete all the skills they have in their regular floor routines."
Kokta also praised the new performers.
"Amanda Pennow and Caitlin Locante had a great debut meet making their presence known by taking the top two places on every event, including the all-around competition."
Brookfield has a few weeks off now until their next meet.
"We are really going to work on keeping this positive momentum in the gym and working on some new skills," Kokta said. "I'm excited to see where this season will take us."
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