Conant grabs 2nd; Mauk 3rd in all-around
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Joey Mauk and Conant accomplished what they came for Friday at the 61st annual boys gymnastics state finals at Lincoln-Way East in Frankfort.
Conant avoided some early trouble to claim a second-place trophy, scoring a 155.70 to finish behind Wheaton co-op's 161.65.
Mauk put together his best all-around performance of the year to finish third with a career-best 54.70.
"I was really spot-on tonight," said Mauk, who scored more than a point better than he did at sectionals last week. "Everything I hit was clean and I scored high"
Conant's Mike Opsal, who is in his first year as the program's head coach, directed his Cougars to their seventh gymnastics trophy.
"It has been a goal all year to bring home a trophy," Opsal said. "We have been scoring so high all year that people have been looking for us to do it. And we came on strong tonight."
The Cougars appeared to be in trouble on the rings, during the third rotation. After Brian Reedy and Blake Rossdeutcher had difficulties in their performances, Brandon Metcalf had one of his best routines of the season to score an 8.40.
"It definitely worried me," Metcalf said. "But I knew that if I jumped it up, Joey would do better, too."
Buoyed by that performance, Mauk followed with a 9.45 and Conant was on its way.
"It was like a kick in the butt," Mauk said. "We really picked it up from there."
The Cougars then followed with a strong vault and a season-best 27.85 on the parallel bars.
"We all knew that things were turning around," said Reedy, who had his best scores of the season on the vault and parallel bars to finish 14th in the all-around with a 50.95.
Conant, which was third in 2010, also got strong performances from Rossdeutcher, who was 25th in the all-around with a 47.35; Zack Davis, Andrew Inacay, Paolo Cipriano, Marcus Williams, Josh Hoppe and Shane Fessenden.
"It was just another great team effort," Opsal said. "We have had this from everyone all year and it was a great way to finish."
Stevenson rallied to edge Mundelein for third place. The Patriots, who'd lost three of the five times the two teams had met, scored a 151.80 to Mundelein's 150.70.
The Patriots, led by Arie Feltman-Frank, Jacob Guth, Max Jurkoski, Christian Courtney, Kyle Weichselbaum and Elijah Klaber, picked up their first trophy under coach Eric Liva.
"I am so proud of these kids," Liva said. "There was so much pressure on them, and they all went out and hit their routines."
Feltman-Frank and Guth, who were also competing for the all-around title, were both pleased with the way their team performed
"I thought we had a strong shot at a trophy today," said Felltman-Frank, who was 13th in the all-around with a 51.60.
"And it is awesome getting it."
"We came out strong on p-bars," said Guth, who was 19th in the all-around with a 50.45. "We continued on the high bar and we were hitting everything."
Mundelein was neck and neck with Stevenson heading into the final rotation but just finished a bit short of a trophy.
"I knew the second half of this meet would be the deciding factor," Mundelein coach Jesse Piland said. "It just came down to who would have the best last event, and they did."
The Mustangs' Colin McCarthy was fourth in the all-around with a 54.55 while teammate Cameron Mueller was 17th with a 50.75.
"It wasn't my best meet," said McCarthy, who is a junior and was 10th in the state last year. "I got off to a slow start and my teammates picked me up."
Buffalo Grove had a tough time in its first appearance at the state meet since 1978. The Bison struggled early in the meet, but came on strong at the end to finish eighth with a 147.40.
"Regardless of the way we finished," said Buffalo Grove coach Zack Crandall. "it is a day that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Making it to state for the first time as a team in over three decades is a great accomplishment."
The Bison, who look to bounce back Saturday when they send eight gymnasts to the individual qualifying, got an eighth-place finish on Friday in the all-around from David Kavalerchik.
"I am not going to lie to you," Kavalerchik. "The only thing that went well for me today was the p-bars where I got my personal record (9.30). But I am looking forward to tomorrow."
Elgin's Steve Merena finished ninth in the all-around with a 52.00.
"I did pretty well," said Merena, who was 14th in the all-around last year. "I hit my p-bars and high bar routines pretty well tonight. It was a lot of fun out there."
Fremd's C.J. Patton was 11th in the all-around with a 51.75.
"I am happy," Patton said. "Now I can concentrate on the individual events tomorrow."
Dundee-Crown's Satchel Hudson was 29th in the all-around with a 46.40.
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