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Girls Gymnastics: Lincoln-Way co-op’s Maggie Schultz emerging in SouthWest Suburban Conference

Lincoln-Way co-op's Maggie Schultz | Jeff Vorva/For Sun-Times Media

Lincoln-Way co-op's Maggie Schultz | Jeff Vorva/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 21, 2014 6:18AM



It didn’t take long for Lincoln-Way co-op sophomore Maggie Schultz to go from unknown to someone who seriously could be mentioned in a conversation about who has a shot to win top individual honors in the SouthWest Suburban Conference.

Defending champion Kaila Pohrte, of Lincoln-Way co-op, won’t be able to defend her crown after suffering a knee injury before the season. Pohrte became the first Lincoln-Way female gymnast to win a conference title after recording a 35.200 in 2013.

With Pohrte’s absence, the field is wide open. Returning conference standouts include Sandburg’s Anna Girlich, who was third in 2013 with a 34.450, and Lockport’s Kacie Kenney, who took fourth with a 33.050 and won on balance beam.

Lincoln-Way’s Shelby Wiktor and Mallory Winter also have been able to put up some big numbers.

Schultz opened some eyes Jan. 11 by finishing seventh in the all-around at the Lincoln-Way Invitational with a 35.350 — which would have been the winning score at last season’s conference meet. Her score included a high of 9.3 on the vault. All of the conference contenders, save Kenney, were at that meet.

“I’m happy with what I did,” Schultz said. “I’m actually surprised that I did so well.’’

So who is Maggie Schultz, and why haven’t area fans heard much about her?

Schultz, who grew up in Wilmington, has participated in gymnastics since she was 3.

“My mom wanted to get me involved in a sport,’’ Schultz said. “She started naming off all the sports, and I always wanted to learn how to flip,” she said. “I chose gymnastics. I never played any other sports. It’s always been gymnastics.”

Schultz hasn’t been a complete stranger to the Lincoln-Way area. She’s a longtime member of the New Lenox-based Flip Star Gymnastics Academy.

She attended Wilmington High School, which doesn’t have a gymnastics team, but spent the season on the Wildcats’ competitive cheerleading team. She transferred to Lincoln-Way West and has made an impact on the co-op team.

“I’ve been on a club since I was 3 and always wanted to compete at the high school level,” she said. “But my school didn’t have it. But now I’m going to a school with gymnastics and it’s been fun.’’

She said her favorite event is the balance beam.

“The beam is just four inches but you can do so much stuff on it,” she said. “There is stuff that you don’t even know you can do on it.’’

First year Lincoln-Way coach Kim Lago, a veteran coach of the area’s Gym-Kenetics club, is excited to watch Schultz’s progress on the high school level.

“She’s a great little gymnast and I think she is going to bring a lot to this program,” she said. “Hopefully, we can keep her going and she improves even more the next couple of years.”



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