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updated: 3/19/2014 10:29 PM

Team effort paces Naperville North

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By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

The Naperville North boys gymnastics team shared the wealth during Wednesday's DuPage Valley Conference dual meet against Glenbard North in Carol Stream.

Yudai Okabe, Liam Strejcek and Brandon Louise each won two events apiece as the Huskies cruised past the Panthers, 130 to 91.9.

"We did fine tonight," Huskies coach Brad Foerch said. "We just have to get cleaner and I think there's a few more elements we can add, especially on high bar. We were sloppy on parallel bars and we've got to hit pommel (horse) so we need more routines there."

Louise was the only all-arounder for the Huskies, winning parallel bars with a 7.7 and doing the same on vault with the meet's top score of a 9.2.

"I got first (on vault) at Niles West last week with a 9.1 so to raise it to a 9.2 was very good," Louise said. "It shows that I'm improving and that's what you need to do."

The junior realizes he still has a long way to go to hit at his full potential though.

"I kept the other events clean, which was good," he said. "I will add some difficulty later in the season."

Okabe, who is just a sophomore, claimed the top honors on high bar with a 5.8 and floor with an 8.4. Louise and Andy Aruz were right behind him on floor with an 8.3 apiece.

Strejeck dominated still rings with an 8.4, scoring nearly a full point better than Okabe's 7.5. He also won pommel horse with a 6.1.

Naperville North senior Tommy Hodges, who placed second on parallel bars with a 7.4 and pommel horse with a 6, said midweek competitions are almost like an extended practice.

"We all want to get a chance to practice and get better," he said. "This gives us a chance to size up the competition and get ready for when it really matters."

Glenbard North only had two gymnasts compete on still rings and high bar so its team score reflects the absence of a third contributor. The Panthers also had no room for error on floor and vault with just three gymnasts competing.

Luke Meister scored a 37.7 in the all-around for the Panthers and had the team's best score in five of six events. Asim Zaidi's 5 on pommel horse led the team.

"I know they're not scoring 8s or 9s, but when they get that 5 they know they earned it, and know what they need to do to move up," Panthers coach Michael Crissie said. "It's a young team that's so much fun to work with because they're enthusiastic and they want to learn and are having fun."

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