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Article updated: 3/24/2013 9:55 PM

Wheaton co-op takes Mustang Invite

By Dick Quagliano

Wheaton's Max Jurkowski made the most of his opportunity.

According to the rules of the Vic Avigliano Mustang Invitational at Rolling Meadows on Saturday, only one gymnast from each participating school could compete in each event. Jurkowski was Wheaton co-op's only gymnast on the floor exercise.

Jurkowski didn't disappoint, scoring an 8.80 to win the event and help lead his team to the title with a score of 50.00.

"My first pass was really good," said Jurkowski, who went round-off, flip-flop, layout. "My whole routine was pretty simple and clean and that was the difference."

"That is the great thing about this meet," said Wheaton co-op coach Greg Gebhardt. "Normally Max is our third or fourth score on the floor. But today he was our No. 1 and this should do a lot for his confidence."

Also doing a lot for the confidence of Wheaton Co-op was Ethan Sansone, who was competing in a meet for the first time this year. Sansone delivered an impressive performance on the high bar, winning the event with a 9.20.

"It wasn't feeling too good in warmups," Sansone said. "But I just went out there and did what I usually do in practice and I ended up with a hit set."

Wheaton also placed three gymnasts in the top five of other events. Danny Heller was third on the pommel horse (7.80), Mike Rumoro was fourth on the rings (8.00) and Ryan Kehoe was fourth on the vault (8.75).

"This is a great way to head into break," said Gebbhardt, who rested top gymnast David McDonald. "We won last night (at Lake Park) and here tonight. The kids are in a good place."

Also in a good place heading into spring break are Fremd's C.J. Patton and Conant's Joey Mauk. Both scored 9.50 as Patton won the pommel horse -- while Mauk took first place on the parallel bars.

Patton is rolling into the form that earned him a second-place medal at the state meet last year. Patton, who struggled a bit earlier in the season, nailed his routine Saturday.

"I thought this was a pretty good score," Patton said. "It went really well. I am back in season. I have been working hard in the gym every day and knowing what I did wrong earlier and fixing it."

Mauk was solid on the parallel bars, as his work on keeping his feet from dragging on the floor during his giants showed success.

"The judges have been telling me that has been an issue," Mauk said. "So I have been working real hard on making sure they don't touch. I am looking forward to break where I can work on some skills and not have to compete."

Mauk and Conant ended a streak of three meets in consecutive nights. The break could not come too soon for coach Mike Opsal, whose Cougars finished with a 48.25 to earn runner-up honors Saturday.

Our goal was second place tonight," Opsal said. "We had a tough meet on Friday at Lake Park. This will give our guys some momentum heading into the second half of the season.

The Cougars' Brian Reedy performed his best high bar routine to finish second with an 8.80. Zach Davis was seventh on the rings with a 7.75 and Josh Hoppe was eighth on the floor with a 7.90.

"I start out with a 9.5 difficulty," Reedy said. "I have been practicing and building up my endurance wile throwing sets."

Lake Park finished third with a 46.50, thanks to Sam Flory, who was second on the pommel horse with an 8.80, Mac Allen, fourth on the parallel bars with an 8.20 and Shea Smiley, eighth on floor with a 7.95.

Fourth-place Buffalo Grove (45.20) received another strong performance from David Kavalerchik, who was third on the high bar with an 8.30. Jake Siebert had a career-best 7.70 on the rings to finish eighth, while Kirtan Patel was seventh on parallel bars with a 7.60.

"I am really happy for Jake," said BG assistant coach Chris Stevens. "I know how hard he has worked and it is good to see it pay off."

Glenbard South's Paul Steger won the rings with an 8.20, while Prospect's Tim Pappas was just a bunny-hop away from overtaking him with an 8.10.

"The dismount didn't go as planned," Pappas said. "I kind of crunched my ankle when I landed and took a step forward and then bunny hopped on one foot. So that was a couple of tenths off."

Perry Zumbrook of Glenbard West won the vault with a 9.40 to help lead the Hilltoppers to sixth place with a 43.55. Jon McNamara was second on the parallel bars (8.40), Luke SKala was fourth on the pommel horse (7.70) and Gene Herrera was fifth on the rings (7.85)

Schaumburg's Mat Sigler was fourth on the floor with an 8.50 while Palatine's Pratik Patel was fifth on the pommel horse with a 7.60.

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