It was a great start to the boys gymnastics season for both Mundelein and Libertyville on Tuesday night in an Independent Conference rivalry meet.
The host Mustangs actually got their campaign kick-started with a 146.45 points in a tournament last week, but they really soared to new heights against the Wildcats with a 155.9 to 145.6 victory in this very high-scoring dual meet.
Mundelein senior newcomer Kurt Lawrence showed that his is going to be a huge contributor to the Mustangs' success this spring as he soared to the all-around championship with 53.9 points (8.98 average) in his second high school meet ever.
Senior teammate Tyler Collins was a close second with 53.1 points (8.85 average) to take runner-up honors in the all-around while junior teammate Will Ferro (48.9 points) gave Mundelein a clean sweep of the top three places in the all-around competition.
"I am very pleased with how the gymnasts performed tonight," said Mundelein coach Jesse Piland, whose team only used three gymnasts in the meet while scoring a meet-high 26.9 points on floor exercise. "We took advantage of the situation being at home with the home crowd, and we put together a great meet from start to finish."
Libertyville (0-1) trailed the Mustangs 103.9 to 97.1 after four events, and the Wildcats also put together an outstanding meet to open their season with a strong finish on high bar and parallel bars.
Libertyville was also led by a newcomer as sophomore Max Faber placed fourth in the all-around with 48.1 points while junior teammate Matt Neuberger placed fifth overall with 47.1 points.
Libertyville senior Pat Tanski (47.0) and freshman teammate Robert Cartwright were right on Neuberger's heels in a sixth-place tie in the all-around.
"It's our best start to the season and the highest score we've ever started with so we have to keep riding the momentum," said Libertyville coach Josh Cimo, whose team scored 26.7 points on vault. "We stayed on pommel horse for the most part, we just have to clean it up. But the guys had high energy and positive attitudes."
Lawrence's performance included winning scores of 9.2 on high bar, 8.8 on still rings, and 8.5 on pommel horse. Lawrence and Collins (9.3) tied for first on floor exercise. Lawrence is a former club gymnast who made nationals in sixth, seventh, and ninth grades.
"I wanted to have fun my senior year, and I wanted to be part of a team," said Lawrence, who gives Mundelein a great chance of returning to the Elite Eight meet in early May. "We're small in numbers, but the people we do have, have a lot of talent. We just have to do what we know that we can hit, and do it clean."
Collins was the vault champion with a 9.6 while Tanski took home first place on parallel bars with a 9.1.Collins added second-place marks of 9.0 on parallel bars, 8.6 on still rings, 8.4 on high bar, and 8.2 on pommel horse. Lawrence (9.2) was the runner-up on vault.
"That is as well as I've seen them do in any meet or practice as long as I've been their coach," said Piland, whose is starting his 10th season as head coach. "I was hoping for an improvement from meet one to meet two, but what I got was much more than I expected, and it was a considerable improvement."
Tanski added a third-place 9.0 on vault while Faber (8.8) placed third on floor exercise. Ferro and Lawrence (8.9) tied for third place on parallel bars. Kukla (8.0) placed third on high bar while Ferro (8.0) placed third on still rings. Faber also placed third on p-horse with a 7.8.