Wheaton grinds out another win
A boys high school gymnastics team does not typically compete in three meets in as many nights.
Then again, Wheaton co-op, the defending state champions, isn't your typical team.
Despite resting standout junior all-arounder Ethan Sansone, Wheaton cruised behind the all-around efforts of junior newcomer David MacDonald and senior Danny Heller, along with seven other gymnasts who at least contributed one score to the team's overall total.
Wheaton finished well ahead of the rest of the 14-team field with 147.3 points to win Friday's Leyden Eagle Invitational in Northlake. Runner-up Glenbard South managed a 127.05.
"When you see a meet three times like this you really see who you are," Wheaton coach Greg Gebhardt said. "We've had ups and downs but can see the weaknesses after three nights in a row and what we need to improve on. Plus, it's good to feel what the grind is like early on because at the state meet it's a grind."
The losing 13 teams didn't see many weaknesses from Wheaton, which received a fourth-place 7.6 on still rings from Mike Rumoro, who is only in his second season as a gymnast, and a fifth-place effort of a 7.9 on parallel bars from Ben Marston.
Other notable scores for Wheaton included Max Jurkowski's 8.1 on parallel bars and 8.8 on vault, Lucas Cooperman's 5.45 on high bar, Austin Peabody's 8.7 on floor, Evan Murray's 6.8 on still rings and Ryan Kehoe's 8.7 on vault.
"Mike (Rumoro) was hurt all last year and this is only the third meet he's ever done," Gebhardt said. "Ryan Kehoe did a real nice vault tonight. Max Jurkowski probably had the best meet. I mean, obviously David (MacDonald) had a great meet and Danny (Heller) had some ups and downs, but Max is someone who no one really sees what he does and we're counting on him and these other guys to solidify those first scores."
MacDonald won everything save for pommel horse, which went to Lake Park's Sam Flory with an 8.9. MacDonald finished with an all-around total of 55.45. Heller had a 48.6 while Flory was third with a 48.1.
"I was pretty tired coming into this but did a pretty good floor and started to feel good," MacDonald said. "I got my hands caught on pommel horse and fell off, but that happens. Still, I was happy overall and it was very nice to finish like that (on high bar with a 9.4)."
Glenbard South hasn't found itself near the top of the leaderboard in recent years, but that's where the Raiders were Friday.
"We had a dual meet yesterday and had a 135.5, so we didn't do a really good job tonight," Raiders coach Steve Young said. "But we're excited about our potential. We still have a long way to go, but it's exciting."
Eugene Boguslavsky, who was injured last spring, took fourth in the all-around with a 45.25, Eli Qahhaar followed with a fifth-place 41.8 and Paul Steger added a 39.6.
"Junior year for me we're compounding our guys because sophomore year I was out and Eli and Paul stepped up," Boguslavsky said. "I'm glad I'm back and we're looking good. We're hoping to hit 140 or higher and I think we can do it."
Boguslavsky placed fourth on high bar with a 7.8 and third on floor with a 9.3.
"I could've hit better on everything, but you can always say that about anything no matter how well you do," he said. "I felt ripped off with a 6.5 on high bar because it was one of my best sets, but my coach talked him (the judge) up to a 7.8 so that was very nice. And floor was good too. I enjoyed those the most."
Palatine placed third with a 123.15. Lucas Price took third on pommel horse and was the Pirates top all-arounder with a 41.35. Austin Hoening took fifth on floor with an 8.9. Palatine standout Jonah Hinz, the top returning all-arounder from state last season, is no longer on the team.
"We were down a little bit tonight and didn't have as much energy as I would've liked," Palatine coach Scott Hagel said. "We'll have to get back in the gym and clean some things up and hopefully have a very good spring break. We'd like to be in the 130-range, not in the low 120s."
Lake Park was without one of its leaders in Mac Allen and settled for fourth place with a 122.6.
"We didn't hit everything today, but there were some good points," Flory said. "We hit high bar and hit horse, if I recall. I think it shows that as a team we can lose a guy and still compete."
Eddie Murphy took fifth on vault with an 8.9 to help Hinsdale South place sixth with a 114.3.
Glenbard East was ninth (100), Elk Grove took 10th (96.1) and Fenton closed out the invite (70.1).
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