Riverside-Brookfield High School senior Sarah Lindenberg wanted her last home girls gymnastics meets to be memorable.
The finale at the fifth annual RB Invitational on Jan. 21 even proved to be historic.
The Bulldogs not only scored a season-best 131.35 but pulled out the eight-team title by just .125 points over defending champion Willowbrook.
“It was such a good end to a good season and my last home meet,” Lindenberg said. “We were kind of going into this meet that we were going to get lower in the places but still score high. Just finding out we won was amazing.”
RBHS prevailed thanks to sticking all five balance beam routines – the first time that’s happened in any meet in head coach Karyn Domzalski’s eight seasons.
It happened with help from — and maybe in spite of — Lindenberg.
After solid routines from freshman Vivian Grusecki, sophomore Tanya Hertogs, Lindenberg and junior Annabel Krueger, Lindenberg excitedly told Domzalski the Bulldogs were 4 for 4.
Sophomore Lia Christiansen, who still had to perform, happened to overhear.
“Knowing made me a little nervous … but it made me really want to do this for me and team, so I was super excited that I stuck,” Christiansen said.
Christiansen scored a team-best 9.1 to finish third. She also was second in all-around (35.75), floor exercise (9.15), vault (9.0) and uneven parallel bars (8.5).
Lindenberg and Krueger shared eighth on beam (8.4) and tied for ninth in all-around (31.95). Lindenberg tied for seventh on floor (8.7) and sophomore Reese Phelan was ninth on uneven bars (7.6). Junior Alexa Cavaliere also competed.
The Bulldogs have won their invite seven times under Domzalski, the last four since the invite expanded to eight teams. They previously scored 130.9 on Jan. 4.
“[A 131] was huge. But the five beams were the highlight because they know it’s never happened here before and they were the first crew that made it happen,” Domzalski said.
Hinsdale South sophomore Anya Patel won all four events with a 37.0 all-around total. Christiansen came 0.1 points from sharing first on vault and floor, usually her strongest events.
“I think beam was my favorite because I hit all of my skills,” Christiansen said. “It was super exciting that we finally got a 131. [Winning] was the cherry on top of everything.”
On Senior Night on Jan. 17, the Bulldogs (130.25) defeated Geneseo (129.20) and U-46 co-op (127.70) in Upstate Eight Conference action.
Christiansen (35.35 all-around) won all four events. Krueger was second on beam (8.6).
RBHS honored six four-year seniors – Lindenberg, Claudia Grusecki, Ava Connerty, Stella Pizana and Quinn Kahle, a manager this season.
“I was really happy to be surrounded by my teammates,” Lindenberg said. “Obviously, I’m heartbroken to leave. These are the girls I’ve been with my whole life.”
Claudia Grusecki injured her right elbow during warmups at Oswego on Jan. 11. She hopes to return for the Geneva Regional on Feb. 1. The Bulldogs compete at the UEC Meet on Jan. 28 at Glenbard South.