Not only did the Brookfield girls gymnastics team successfully defend its North Shore Conference championship in its final season in the league, but it did so in record-setting fashion.
The gymnasts broke the school record with a score of 146.450, easily defeating defending Division 2 state champion Whitefish Bay (142.3) and Nicolet (140.65) to win the eight-team conference meet held Feb. 18 at Homestead High School.
"Conference was an amazing meet for us," Brookfield coach Erin Kokta said. "The girls really believed in one another and were supportive, and because of this, we walked away as conference JV and varsity team champions for the second year in a row. To be able to do this with such an amazing group of girls makes it all that much better. To top it off, we had two school records broken. The varsity team went undefeated all season in the conference, and this conference team broke the school record by more than 2 whole points."
Senior Caitlin Locante won the all-around title with a school-record score of 37.9. Junior Lexi Romero was third in the all-around with a 37.625, and freshman Lexi Penney was fourth with a 37.025.
Brookfield swept the individual titles at all four events, with Locante winning the beam with a 9.475 and the floor with 9.650. Romero took first on the uneven bars with a 9.375, and Penney claimed the vault title with a 9.50.
"Caitlin Locante stole the show, placing first or second on every event and winning the all-around," Kokta said. "Lexi Romero and Lexi Penney both also had amazing days placing on multiple events and both taking home an individual conference title."
Locante tied for second on the bars (9.3) and on the vault (9.475), Penney was second on the beam (9.425), fourth on the bars (8.9) and fifth on the floor (9.2) and Romero was third on the floor (9.475), fourth on the beam (9.400) and tied for fifth on the vault (9.375). Freshman Sophie Latona took eighth on the bars (8.425).
Riley Feng won two individual events and the all-around for the JV team, while Christina Kirmis (vault) and Caitlyn Albrecht (floor) also won JV event titles.
"Their scores were very legitimate; they were clearly the better team," Whitefish Bay coach Mary Liniewski said of Brookfield. "Their coach does a great job with those kids, and they were very gracious winners."
Brookfield will compete next at the WIAA sectional meet on Saturday, Feb. 25 at Menomonee Falls, which features Arrowhead, Homestead, Menomonee Falls/Germantown, Nicolet, Oconomowoc, Sun Prairie and Watertown. The top two teams and top five individuals in each event will advance to the WIAA state meet to be held March 3-4 in Wisconsin Rapids.
"This is our last year competing in the North Shore, and we really thank them for welcoming us into their conference," Kokta said. "It has always been a positive and competitive conference to be a part of. We are hoping to keep our momentum going into sectionals week."