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D'Arcy Motors Athlete of the Week: Kaitlyn Penzone, Oswego sophomore, gymnastics

Why she was selected:

Kaitlyn Penzone, a sophomore for the Oswego co-op gymnastics team, took eighth place in the all-around with a score of 35.625 at Oswego's Tumble for the Troops Invitational.

Penzone, a newcomer to the program this year, continued her strong season in boosting a young team. Penzone won vault at her first meet, the Hornet Invite, placed eighth in all-around at the Downers Grove North Invite, was fourth all-around at the DeKalb Invite and placed first in vault, parallel bars, floor exercise and all-around at Oswego's first home meet.

Penzone talked with Ledger sports editor Joshua Welge about the most recent meet and all things gymnastics. Here is an edited version of the transcript:

Welge: What's your thoughts on the most recent meet?

Penzone: I did pretty well in the overall competition. I got my highest beam [8.7] and bars [8.975] score. I put in a new skill in the beam, which is an aerial.

Welge: What was the key to that beam skill?

Penzone: I stayed on the beam which is really exciting. It's the highest skill. I just put it on the beam that week. It's all about staying calm and not overthinking. I've done it a number of times.

Welge: How's your season going so far?

Penzone: It's been going really well. My high score on the floor of 9.5 is the highest for all my events. It's a lot higher than in years past. The team is meshing really well. Our team scores reflect that.

Welge: What made you decide to come out for the high school team this year [Penzone did not as a freshman]?

Penzone: Last year I came to a high school meet, and I know a lot of the people on the team. It seemed like it was a lot of fun. The team environment is great. When the team tried out this year, I decided I was going to go for it.

Welge: I heard you've been doing gymnastics since you were two years old. How'd you get started?

Penzone: My mom entered me in a class at the park district and I remained through Level 10. My mom was a gymnast when she was younger; she competed at a pretty high level. She did high school gymnastics, too, so she was pretty excited when I tried it this year.

Welge: What's your training like?

Penzone: When I train USA Gymnastics we train about 25 hours a week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. I go to a camp every year in Tennessee. The park district goes every summer.

Welge: So, are you glued to watching Olympic gymnastics every four years?

Penzone: I love to watch the Olympics! It's very cool to see teams from all around the world. I personally love the team competition. It's exciting to see the girls get excited for each other.

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