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posted: 3/16/2010 12:01 AM

Jackson breaks records, but Wheaton soars

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By Chris Walker

Glenbard East's Kirk Jackson broke records. Wheaton co-op broke into the 150s.

In what could've been an uneventful DuPage Valley Conference opener on Monday for both teams, Jackson established Glenbard East records with a 9.6 in the floor exercise and a 9.7 on high bar. Wheaton finished with 150.3 points, easily better than Glenbard East's 127.4, and began taking steps toward perhaps its first state title since 2005. Wheaton finished fourth last season.

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"I think we'll improve as the season goes on," Wheaton coach Chad Downie said. "No routines yet, we're just working on skills and looking toward spring break to solidify some of the higher skills we're doing."

Junior all-arounders Darren Fill and Mike Brackman paced Wheaton. Fill, who tore the labrum in his shoulder last summer, led the way by winning vault with a 9.2, still rings with an 8.9 and pommel horse with an 8.2. His only real struggle occurred on high bar. He finished with a 52 overall.

"Twisting on the arm is just killing right now (on high bar), but it'll be fine as the season plays out," Fill said. "We just tried to make sure we hit our sets, got the jitters out and that's what was most important for us, especially the younger gymnasts."

Brackman had a 7.6 on pommel horse, 8.4 on still rings and concluded the evening with a brilliant 9.6 on high bar. He ended up with a 49.2.

"It's my same (high bar) routine as last year and I'm happy I stuck it because I fell on my dismount in the first meet," Brackman said. "My full Higgins felt very good. I can pretty much do that routine as a warmup. I have such a good feel for it now."

While the junior duo combined for 101.2 points, it took a combined effort to collect nearly 50 additional points to push above 150. Helping the team get there were especially senior Mike Dieterle, junior Bayly Shelley and sophomore Mark Ciesielski.

Dietrle posted an 8.7 on vault and an 8.4 on high bar, Cieselski helped his team's cause with an 8.7 in the floor exercise and a 9 on vault while Shelley assisted with a 7.9 on parallel bars.

"We've got a solid team all the way through," Downie said. "Brackman and Fill are really doing an outstanding job as all-arounders and we have a nice group filling in around them. Dieterle is almost an all-arounder and Gerry Reimer and Shan Jafri are filling in as senior specialists."

Glenbard East received a pair of 8s in the floor exercise from John Lodywick and Sean Olsen and a 7.9 on vault from Bryan Delprado as the Rams continue to make early-season strides.

"We're working out some bugs and trying real hard to get new skills and I love it," Glenbard East coach Lee Wood said. "It doesn't mean it'll go smoothly, but it shows that we're growing."

And breaking records.

Jackson may have had slip-ups on pommel horse, vault and still rings, but he still posted the top all-around total of 53.2, thanks in large part to his thrilling contributions in the floor exercise and high bar.

"Those records have been there for years so I'm super happy to see that," Wood said. "That's what should win most meets because it's clean and very well done."

Jackson got things started early in the meet in the floor exercise.

"I was trying to rearrange my routine to get the best output with the landings and what not," Jackson said. "I think it worked out well with clean form, solid skills and it felt very good to land."

A simple high level set was utilized on his record-setting high bar routine.

"It's kind of long, so he has time to do things," Wood said. "It's done in a way that Glenbard East gymnastics have always been done in that it's clean. It's all out in front of everybody and if there was a deduction there you would've seen it."

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