Created:Saturday, January 5, 2013 10:44 p.m.CDT
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Prairie Ridge gymnasts unimpressed with record-setting win

LAKE FOREST – Prairie Ridge’s girls gymnastics team recorded its best team score in school history, had sophomores Riley Mahoney and Rachael Underwood finish 1-2 in the all-around and took the team title while facing some of the state’s best competition.

“I’d say it was a B-plus,” Prairie Ridge coach Lee Battaglia said.

Senior Savanna Mensching also viewed the performance with critical eyes.

“Overall, we did OK,” she said.

The Wolves’ co-op team, which combines athletes from Prairie Ridge, Cary-Grove and Crystal Lake Central, scored 150 points to win the Lake Forest Invitational on Saturday, edging Lyons, which had 149.675.

The tough self-criticism demonstrates how good Prairie Ridge believes it can be. After placing third in last year’s state meet, the Wolves, who are even deeper now, are shooting for the top.

Saturday’s meet allowed the Wolves to see how they compare to state power Lyons and defending state champion Carmel, which was third with 145.625.

“There is still a lot of improving we can do,” said Mensching, a senior from Central who was fifth on balance beam. “We need to keep going, keep steady on the course. We just saw some competition like we’ll see at state. There was more pressure here than some other meets. The [150] is good, but we can be better.”

Battaglia pointed out that the first of Prairie Ridge’s five competitors in each event had mistakes, which then put more pressure on the other athletes.

“I felt bad the first person missed, but I felt good that the other ones did so well after that,” Battaglia said. “Riley [Mahoney] had a great meet. She was very strong in all four events. And Rachael [Underwood] was strong in her first three. We’ll get them a little rest in upcoming meets and get them ready for the regional.”

Mahoney scored 38.35 to win the all-around, and Underwood had 37.975 for second, despite a fall on the balance beam that cost her at least half a point. Mahoney won the balance beam at 9.45 and placed in the top five in every event.

“I felt like I did really well in all four events,” Mahoney said. “They were all clean. There are a couple of things we want to change and add some new skills [before state]. I’m super-proud of everybody, they all did great jobs and contributed and did their part.”

Underwood had three top-three finishes and freshman Maddie Solka was fifth in the uneven bars. Battaglia used eight gymnasts in the various events, with only Mahoney and Underwood competing all-around.

“We definitely want to be one of the teams other teams fear,” Mahoney said. “We came here and did what we needed to do and proved it to everybody.”