Barrington's Christian Sellars makes gymnastics look easy.
Sellars had never competed in a high school meet before Friday night's Mid-Suburban League East-West meet at Barrington. But that didn't stop the senior from scoring a 9.40 on the floor exercise, the highest score in the event.
"It's not that I didn't want to compete in the past," Sellars said. "Things just happened that kept me from doing that."
Sellars came to Barrington his sophomore year after moving from Colorado. After being part of the competitive cheerleading team, he broke his ankle just before the start of the boys gymnastics season.
After two surgeries, Sellars was working out last year to compete for the Broncos. But Sellars needed the pins to be removed, which ended his season again.
Despite all those setbacks, Sellars decided to compete this year. His score of 9.40 was the sixth best in Barrington history on the floor. It could have been even higher, but it included two step-outs, costing him another two-tenths of a point.
"It wasn't my first response to look up at the board," Sellars said. "I was really just trying to focus on what I could do out there. It was just great to have a chance to compete."
"He really is the comeback kid," Barrington coach Rob DeFano said. "Most guys would have quit and never come out. But this just shows what kind of competitor he is."
Sellars' score helped the West team defeat the East squad 249.30 to 236.50. The meet features competitors from all the MSL schools. Each school puts one individual in each event and participants are allowed to compete in just once.
"It is a fun meet to start the season," Palatine coach Scott Hagel said. "We get to see each other in one meet and we get lots of kids to compete."
Conant's Blake Rossdeutcher was one of three Cougars who had the highest score in an event. Rossdeutcher scored a career-best 7.70 on the pommel horse.
"I have been working really hard in the off-season," said Rossdeutcher, whose previous best was a 5.80. "All my hard work is paying off."
Teammates Joey Mauk had the highest score on the parallel bars with a 9.30 while Brian Reedy topped the field with a 7.90 on the high bar.
"I really like my giants on the event," said Mauk, who is senior. "It is a great way to start the year."
"I just wanted to stay clean the whole time," said Reedy, who is also a senior. "That's how I get my scores. I will be putting in more difficulty this week."
Buffalo Grove sophomore Tyler Cho was best on the vault with an 8.90.
"It went a lot better than I thought it would," Cho said. "I have been practicing it a lot and have had some problems with it. But all the practice helped me tonight."
Prospect senior Tim Pappas had a career-best score of 8.60, the night's best effort on the still rings.
"I got really fired up," Pappas said. "I couldn't wait to be out here. I stuck my double-back flip on my dismount and that was big."