The Stevenson boys gymnastics team showed that it's an elite squad Friday night at the Bob Bohl Invitational in Mundelein.
The Patriots rolled to the championship of the powerful 17-team field with a season-high 158.15 points as they toppled the host Mustangs, who delivered their season high of 152.95.
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Fellow Lake County entry Libertyville was also pretty impressive as the short-handed Wildcats nipped Deerfield 139.75 to 139.0 for third place. Buffalo Grove was a close fifth with 138.73 points.
Mundelein senior Colin McCarthy captured the all-around title with 55.05 points (9.18 average).
But Stevenson had too much depth for the Mustangs as senior teammates Zack Gilbert (54.25) and Jacob Guth (52.35) placed second and third respectively to help carry the Patriots to first place. Mundelein's Cameron Mueller (50.9) placed fourth overall while teammate Jacob Petri (46.3) was eighth.
"We all did a good job hitting our high bar routines," said Gilbert, whose team scored 27.4 points on that event. "I think (top three in state) is definitely possible, and even tonight we had some injuries so I think we have a shot."
The No. 2-ranked Pats may actually have a shot to raise the state championship trophy in mid-May as junior Arie Feltman-Frank (13th in state all-around in 2013) only competed in two events Friday due to a wrist injury.
"We just put in a lot of work and it's showing I guess," said Guth, who placed 19th overall in the state last year. "We all hit our pommel horse routines and I think we're going to do awesome this year."
Stevenson coach Eric Liva was also happier than a lark following the meet as the Patriots surpassed their previous season-high score by a whopping 6.05 points.
"I'm very ecstatic, I'm very proud of the kids, and we're battling through injuries," said Liva, whose team placed third in the state last year. "We hit our routines. That is what it is all about, and I'm very excited about how we did."
Mundelein's season-high score was even more impressive considering the Mustangs did it without the services of sophomore all-arounder Brandon Swanson, who is out indefinitely with a back injury.
"We couldn't have competed any better for the lineup that we had and we did as well as I could have hoped for," said Mundelein coach Jesse Piland. "Everybody was solid and we almost beat our score on vault (26.7) on parallel bars (25.7)."
Libertyville's push for third place was led by senior Alex Pong, who was the still rings champ with a 9.2. Pong (four events) is expected to be back in the all-around before the post-season begins as he recovers from an ankle injury.
"We were three for three to start off the meet on parallel bars, high bar, and floor, but pommel horse hurt us big-time," said Libertyville coach Josh Cimo, whose team only scored 21.6 points on that event. "Pong was the only one who hit for us on on pommel horse and still rings and Adrian (Metcalf) is capable of scoring three to four points higher."
After reaching the Elite Eight last year, Buffalo Grove continues to grow as the 2014 season unfolds.
"We had ups and downs, but we didn't have nearly as many hits as we would like," said Buffalo Grove coach Zack Crandall. "So we have to work on hitting more consistently, but all four of our guys hit very well on parallel bars tonight."
Hoffman Estates toppled Mid-Suburban League rival Schaumburg 133.58 to 130.45 for eighth place.
"I'm happy with our score for the routines we're doing, and it wasn't our strongest lineup tonight," said Hoffman Estates coach Ryan Brown. "We have a tremendous amount of room to improve and realistically I want to get them as close to 140 as possible."
McCarthy won floor (9.5), and parallel bars (8.9) while he tied for first with Guth (9.3) on vault. Feltman-Frank won high bar with a meet-high 9.7 while Gilbert (9.4) was the pommel horse champ.
Buffalo Grove's Tyler Cho (8.7) tied for third on p-bars with Guth while Fenton's Oscar Garza (8.8) placed sixth on floor.
"It was a decent meet, we had some injuries the last week and a half so the guys used some watered down routines tonight," said Fenton coach Paula Parat, whose team is in the midst of three meets in just four days. "Our best event was floor and we have room for improvement and experience to grow."
Libertyville was without the services of key gymnasts Ben Reichert, and Mark Pickar, who both missed the meet due to illness.
Schaumburg coach Erik Bostrom is optimistic about the Saxons doing better when the post-season rolls around.
"We're down a few sophomores who are going to be in tomorrow's meet so we're down about four points tonight," said Bostrom. "We had a nice rings set and a nice high bar set and we're just gradually starting to get our requirements in and fine-tuning our routines as the end of the season approaches."