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Girls Gymnastics: Winter’s time at Lincoln-Way

Lincoln-Way's Mallory Winter | Jeff Vorva/For Sun-Times Media

Lincoln-Way's Mallory Winter | Jeff Vorva/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 24, 2014 6:18AM

Lincoln-Way co-op sophomore Mallory Winter said she looked up to teammate Kaila Pohrte last season.

Pohrte, a junior during the 2012-13 campaign, was the first Lincoln-Way gymnast to win a SouthWest Suburban individual title.

Winter expected to follow Pohrte’s lead again this season but things changed when Pohrte suffered a season-ending ACL injury during the club season.

Now Winter and junior Shelby Wiktor have been thrust into leadership roles.

“We were on varsity last year and we’re trying to step up and show some of the girls what to do at the meets,” Winter said. “We’re trying to cheer for everybody and show them how things work.

“Some of the other girls are starting to look up to me since I’m trying to lead them. I like it. They come up to me and ask how to fix something in their routine. It feels good to be a leader for once.’’

It’s a new experience for the team, which draws its athletes from Lincoln-Way North, Central, West and East high schools. Aside from the shift on the leadership level, the team underwent a coaching change with the departure of longtime coach Skip Adamson and the hiring of Kim Lago. Former Andrew coach Allison Hack also was hired as an assistant.

“It’s exciting because we’re working on new techniques with the new coaches,” Winter said. “We’re really looking forward to the end of the season when we can see how far we can go. We’re hoping to make it to state this year.”

Winter recently finished 12th with a score of 32.800 in the all-around at the 35th Conant Invitational, which was the best finish by a Lincoln-Way gymnast.

Kara Auchstettir, who is new to the team this season, was right behind her at 13th with a 32.300.

Winter said her favorite event is the floor exercise.

“Everybody has a different routine,” she said. “I love to dance. I danced when I was a little girl. It’s coming back. I love it. You can really be creative.’’

Winter spent some of her offseason in 2013 competing on the state and regional level with the Flip Star club out of New Lenox. Even though she has been involved with gymnastics most of her life, she doubts she will continue in college.

This summer, Winter had a chance to broaden her horizons and get away from the sport for a couple of weeks when she visited Australia with a People to People Student Ambassador group.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “For two days we did a service project and we used recyclable materials to build pots for plants, crates, chairs and ladders. One day we went to the Great Barrier Reef and we got to go snorkeling and scuba diving. That was awesome. Not a lot of people get to do that.’’

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