Boys gymnastics: Lake Park, Fremd take two spots at brisk Meadows invite

The host coach sang the national anthem Saturday night.

The gymnasts then flipped and swung and flexed and tumbled and flew.

A brisk 49 minutes later, the 40th Vic Avigliano Mustang boys gymnastic invite at Rolling Meadows was ... over.

Just like that.

"I love it," Rolling Meadows coach Mike Costa said of the meet's unique format, in which each gymnast in the 11-team field performed only one routine. "It gives each guy an opportunity to focus on one event.

"If you're a pommel-horse specialist, this meet is for you," he added.

Costa owned the meet - before it even started. The coach/crooner's rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" impressed all and elicited a thunderous ovation.

"He's got such a powerful voice," first-year Palatine coach Christian Lunsford said.

"Awesome, just awesome," Lake Park coach Frank Novakowski said.

So was Novakowski's squad. The Lancers, runners-up at state last spring, captured the invite title with a 49.1-point total behind first-place routines from junior and reigning high-bar state champion Karl Vachlin (high bar, 9.6), sophomore Bryce Mensik (still rings, 7.4), Ryan Czech (vault, 9.0) and Luca Marzullo (floor exercise, 9.1).

"We made four changes to our original lineup, so our guys showed a lot of resiliency tonight," Novakowski said. "Our team motto is 'We Are One.'

"Fun meet," the coach continued. "We look forward to it every year."

Fremd took runner-up honors (43.15) and was paced by freshman Kody Tokunaga's meet-best 8.8 on the pommel horse.

"Kody," Vikings coach Jason Brandenburg said, "has done such a nice job adjusting from club gymnastics to high school gymnastics. That's not always an easy thing to do."

Wheaton co-op's Drew Berger emerged as the other event champion Saturday night, scoring a 7.2 on the parallel bars.

Wheaton co-op finished in third place (42.1), followed by York (39.9), Niles West (37.5), Prospect (35.95), reigning state champion Palatine (35.5), Glenbard North (34.3), Schaumburg (33.65), Conant (33.3) and RM (27.55).

Other top-three individual efforts:

Floor exercise - Prospect's Andrew Littman (second, 8.7); York's Conor Campbell (third, 7.9).

Pommel horse - York's Renny Barnitz (second, 8.6); Wheaton co-op's Jack Ongstad (third, 8.2).

Still rings - Fremd's Lucas Sciuckas (second, 7.25); Prospect's Jack Reed (third, 7.2).

Vault - Niles West's Patrick Nauman (second, 8.2); Fremd's Joseph Ferlita (third, 8.0).

Parallel bars - Lake Park's Nate Devitt (second, 6.8); Palatine's Ricardo Vital (third, 6.2).

High bar - Wheaton co-op's Patrick Malone (second, 7.7); York's Trevor Rice (third, 7.6).

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