Doug Leatherman and Fremd know the best way to move forward is to move backward first.
Leatherman and his Fremd teammates spent spring break last week working on new skills. The Vikings then employed those skills in the Hoffman Estates triangular meet Tuesday.
While the new skills went well, the old skills may have suffered a bit. Still, Fremd won the meet with a 126.70 to finish ahead of Hoffman Estates' 123.80 and Elk Grove's 81.10.
"There were a lot of things we did better before the break," Fremd coach Tim Hamman said. "That is kind of what happens in the first meet after the break.
"A lot of the skills we were working over break will be good for us in the long-term. We might not seeing that right now, but when they do come it will really improve our score."
Leatherman, who spent most of the time last week working on a new skill for the parallel bars, saw his score fall from a 7.3 to 6.60. But Leatherman knows his hard work will eventually pay off.
"The goal is to get to the state meet," said Leatherman, who is a sophomore and finished third in the all-around with a 40.60. "And I can't get there with my current routine. Once I get the new skills working with my regular routine, I can get my score up to near an 8.50. That would be good enough to make it."
Looking well on his own accord was C.J. Patton. The senior won the all-around with a 50.20, which included a 9.60 on the pommel horse.
"The meet was pretty solid for me," Patton said. "It was all skill work during the break with just one day of conditioning. I am still looking to get my scores even higher."
Hamman, whose team was assigned to the Mundelein sectional on May 4, also got strong performances from Noah Ciborowski, who was fourth on the high bar, Cameron Hewett, who was fifth on the vault and Chase Jauch, who finished fifth on high bar.
Hoffman Estates' Jake Santiago survived a near-disaster on the high bar to finish second in the all-around with a 45.80. Santiago, who peeled in the opposite direction on his dismount on the high bar, still won the floor (8.90), rings (7.70) and the vault (8.50).
"I did well on the floor and the p-bars," Santiago said. "I got a lot of help from my teammates before the meet. We were backing each other up a lot before we competed."
Hawks coach Ryan Brown Jr. was pleased with his team's performance, especially in light of the news of losing Avrey Johnson to a severe ankle injury for the season. Johnson injured his right ankle in a meet with Barrington two weeks ago.
"That news was not good," Brown said. "But the boys understood that they had to regroup and pull together. And they did that tonight."
Also leading the Hawks were Bartosz Widelak, who was second on the floor (8.60) and third in the vault (8.10), along with Andres Cueva, Michael Rodriguez and Alan Peralta.
Elk Grove was competing shorthanded with three of its gymnasts still on spring break but got good performances from Yasuhiro Omura, who was third in the rings (6.90) and Kentu Sa-Vage, who was fourth on floor (8.20).
"We saw some individual improvements," Elk Grove coach Ben Anderson said. "And that was encouraging. It is nice to see the hard work paying off."