No doubt, Whitefish Bay senior gymnast Aly Yurkowitz has much to be grateful about.

The Blue Dukes are defending WIAA state division 2 champions, and she’s defending WIAA state all-around champion, won in an emotional moment last year, where afterward, she ran over and hugged her mother, who was still in treatment for cancer at the time.

Mom is doing much better right now, cancer-free and trying to adjust to her rapidly growing hair, said her much-relieved daughter.

Yurkowitz, in the meantime, has adopted a leader’s role. She is one of three returnees from the 2016 champs. Furthermore, injuries and illness have shortened the lineup at many times during the season. But she is happy to note that the team is getting healthier, the scores are rising and she is still improving even as her gymnastics career is coming to an end.

After their impressive win in the WIAA D2 sectional Feb. 23 at Waterford, the Blue Dukes will be favorites to win their third state title in Yurkowitz’s four-year career March 3 and 4 in Wisconsin Rapids.

“I’m definitely very motivated right now,” said Yurkowitz. “I’m working on each skill, each routine, still trying to get better. I’m really going to try to absorb it all this weekend. It will honestly be more emotional than I thought it would be, because this is it. I’m not continuing gymnastics in college. It’s been such a big part of my life for about 14 years and now it’ll be over.

“I’m just going to try and do my best I can and what happens, happens.”

Veteran coach Mary Liniewski has no doubt that Yurkowitz’s best will be more than good enough.

“She keeps getting better and better every week,” said Liniewski. “She’s so consistent. She has little mistakes, but her score keeps going up and up because she makes up for them on other events….