Sophomore Annabella Simpson took third on balance beam for her first state medal and the Barbs, a co-op team with DeKalb and Sycamore, took third as a team. Prairie Ridge co-op (148.5) was first, followed by Vernon Hills (146.7) and DeKalb (146.575).
Kees, who will compete at Northern Illinois University next year, was the only competitor to better her beam score in the finals, going from 9.4 to 9.425.
“It was always a goal of mine to win beam state champion, so to do that for my senior year, it’s amazing,” Kees said. “That was my favorite moment of the whole weekend. I’m so glad I did better than I did yesterday.”
Kees had one wobble during the routine, but regained her balance and finished strong. She made the finals in all four events, but did not medal in vault.
Barbs coach Andy Morreale really enjoyed Kees’ uneven bars routine, which scored 9.65 to give her first by .15.
“We upgraded the dismount and she stuck it,” said Morreale, as Kees improved .240 on that event. “On bars she did a perfect routine, she hit every handstand. I saw her wobble (on beam), but I knew she was OK when she pulled up. If they trust what they’re doing, they’re OK, and she did.”
Kees said winning the bars title was somewhat unexpected.
“I’m really proud of bars. I’ve come a long way in that event,” she said. “That was super-exciting to win that too. If you saw my bars last year that was nowhere near where it was today. To be able to do that was amazing.”
Simpson had to improvise a little during her beam routine, but managed to keep it together for a 9.25 to take third.
“I was a very surprised. It wasn’t my normal routine because I had a little weird aerial,” Simpson said. “I just stayed with the aerial and didn’t connect the roundoff to it. I just tried to add things to it to go with the routine so it wasn’t as noticeable. I ended up pulling it off. I was very proud of myself.”
Simpson had to go right after beam to perform on floor. It was after her floor routine when she realized she had a third-place medal.
“I did think it was a good routine, I didn’t think I was going to medal because it wasn’t as high a score as I had yesterday,” Simpson said. “I was still very happy with that. I didn’t know until after floor (I had placed).”