Boys gymnastics / Sectional scouting, Northwest
Outlook: Sectional team winners along with the top three at-large scores advance to the team finals May 10 at Lincoln-Way East. The top five finishers in each event along with the top 25 in each event advance to the individual finals May 11.
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Buffalo Grove, led by senior standout David Kavalerchik, joins a strong field including team favorite Mundelein. The Bison finished second in last weekend's Mid-Suburban League meet and surpassed the 150-point mark, and Kavalerchik placed second in the all-around. Joining the action from the Mid-Suburban League are Barrington, Palatine, Fremd and Rolling Meadows. Fremd is led by C.J. Patton, and Palatine's top gymnast in Lucas Price.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
The host Patriots have scored in the upper 150s and figure to be the strongest team. Hersey got an inspirational performance from David Jackowski on the way to a third-place team finish in the MSL meet and is closing in on 140 points as a team. Jackowski won vault and tied for second on floor exercise while scoring 44.5 in the all-around.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Conant: This is the final of five sectionals. After missing the state meet by 3/10 of a point last year and less than a point the previous year, this a date that the Cougars have looked forward to seeing since the season began. "This is where all the hard work from last summer and this season will pay off," Conant coach Mike Opsal said. With one of its strongest group of competitors in years, the Cougars should be ready. Led by Joey Mauk, Brian Reedy and Blake Rossdeutcher, who all qualified for state last year, Conant could have as many as seven individuals competing at the individual finals. Josh Hoppe, Andrew Inacay, Brandon Metcalf and Zack Davis all have great opportunities to advance as well.
Elk Grove: The Grenadiers have begun rebuilding this season and came away with a season-best 113.40 at the MSL conference meet last Friday. Yasuhuiro Omura and Kentu Sa-Vage both have a chance to head to state.
Fenton: The Bison scored 98.50 in their conference meet and have their state hopes in vaulters Oscar Garza and MJ Brazys.
Hoffman Estates: It has been a tough year for the Hawks, who lost Avrey Johnson to an injury and another gymnast to grades. Still, coach Ryan Brown Jr.'s team has pushed forward and is coming off a 121.90 at conference last week. Alan Peralta and Michael Rodriguez have the best chances to make it to state.
Lake Park: The Lancers are coming off a third-place finish in the Independent Conference meet with a score of 132.70. Their hopes are to have Sam Flory, who was 22nd in the all-around last year, return to the finals. Also hoping to make a return is Chris Awisati, who qualified last year on the floor, vault and high bar. Jack Reilly could also qualify on the floor, Mike Szymanek on the rings and Shea Smiley on the vault.
Leyden: Leyden is coming off a 112.50 score in last Friday's West Suburban Conference meet. Mike Ruelas and Tevaries Fletcher both finished third in the meet. Ruleas, who was on the rings and Fletcher, who competed on the vault, look to repeat those performances to earn a trip to state.
Maine East: Andrew Wint is the Demons' best chance to go to state in the vault and floor as Maine East operated as a true school team this year, dissolving the co-ops they had with Maine South and Maine West. Maine East scored a 76.80 in their conference meet.
Maine South: In their first year as a team, the Hawks scored a 68.90 in the Central Suburban Conference meet last Thursday.
Schaumburg: The young Saxons have been gradually improving this season and coach Erik Bostrom would like nothing better than have some of them qualify for state. "It would great for them to get the experience there," Bostrom said. Elliot Lam is Schaumburg's best chance while Mat Sigler, Tyler Wilkerson and Kyle Reid also have a good shot.
Individuals: Maine West, which started gymnastics this year but did not qualify as a team, will have John-Paul Hernandez, Luke Hudson and Nathan Spero competing as individuals. Elgin's Steve Marena, who was 14th in the state in the all-around, 7th on the parallel bars and ninth on the high bar last year, should be in high contention again this year. Northridge Prep's Henry Clark, who is a level 10 gymnast will be competing in the state series for the first time.
-- Dick Quagliano