PALATINE – Brooke Lussnig said she has been doing gymnastics since she was “probably 3.”
But the Geneva sophomore had never competed in front of a crowd as large as the one that attended the state meet at Palatine on Feb. 18.
“It’s definitely a lot different than normal,” Lussnig said. “I just have to always focus on me and not focus on anything else.”
That was easier said than done for Lussnig, who experienced some jitters before opening her competition on vault. She does a Yurchenko pike, which is one of the hardest vaults being done at the high school level, and usually lands them.
Not this time. Lussnig fell on both attempts. Her score was 8.65, which ranked last in the 34-girl field on that event.
“It’s usually my best event, but I was really nervous and it was my first event,” Lussnig said. “So I just had to get the nerves out. I hit my events after that.”
Indeed, Lussnig was solid the rest of the meet, scoring 8.725 on uneven bars, 8.975 on balance beam and 8.6 on floor exercise to finish 32nd in the all-around competition with 34.95 points.
“I didn’t have the best meet,” Lussnig said. “But just to be here as a sophomore qualifying, I feel like it’s a huge accomplishment for me.”
Geneva coach Kim Hostman agreed.
“I’m super proud of her,” Hostman said. “She’s super young so she’s never experienced this before and there was so much talent out here.
“I think she proved she belongs here and did a really nice job coming back on all three of the other events. The scores were a little lower than what she’s normally used to on those three events, but I’m so proud of her for getting here and I know that will help her in the future.”
With a good floor exercise already in place, Lussnig is looking to build on her skills and is excited about what is to come.
“I feel like my goal is to probably place on an event at state,” Lussnig said. “I feel like that’s a good goal for me and I’m going to work hard to try to get there.”
Vault figures to be Lussnig’s best chance at making the individual event finals in the future. The top 10 finishers in prelims advance to the finals, where the top five performances earn state medals.
Hostman said Lussnig’s recovery from her disappointment on that event will serve her well.
“She’s super strong on vault normally, so she had to calm her nerves a little,” Hostman said. “We were a little disappointed that we didn’t start out strong to kind of set that tone, but she came out of it.
“She’s got a tremendous work ethic and we have a lot of upgrades that we’ve been working on throughout the season, so hopefully we can get those into her routines next year.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle