A change of scenery was a good thing for the Franklin, Muskego, Oak Creek and Whitnall girls gymnastics team on Jan. 21, as the defending D1 state champion co-op took off for Niles, Illinois, and won an 18-team invitational.

"We had a good time seeing the Illinois schools," said coach Katie Moore. "It's always fun to compete against different teams. We see the teams in our conference so often at the local invites, so it's great for a change of pace. The format was four up, four count, so we didn't have the luxury of dropping a score. We had some great things happen at the meet.

"This time of the year we're looking to improve in specific areas and really come together as a team. We took some good steps this weekend."

FMOW was coming off a dramatic, season-best, 147-plus-point score the previous week. The judging was a bit tighter at this meet, so the marks weren't as high, but FMOW still came up with a winning total of 138.225. Maine South (Illinois) was second with 138.225, and Geneva (Illinois) was third with 136.828.

Krystal Nelson took the only first for FMOW, as she won the balance beam with a 9.425 mark. Teammate Isabelle Anderson was third with a 9.275, and Abigail Missiaen led a strong effort on the uneven bars with a third-place 8.775 effort. Nelson was sixth on the apparatus (8.65), and Becca Koronkowski was 10th (8.475).

In floor exercise, Elizabeth Missiaen was seventh with a 9.2 score, and Kathy Pecha was 11th on vault (9.1). Koronkowski was seventh in the all-around with a 34.025 mark.

Moore said it was a great effort, especially after a week of semester exams for the athletes.

They won't have much time to rest on their laurels, though, as they will head to Mukwonago on Thursday, Jan. 26, for a dual meet and then will take part in the Kenosha Invite on Saturday, Jan. 21. The Kenosha co-op is a strong Southeast Conference rival for FMOW, was state runner-up last season and has also posted a large score this season.