Boys gymnastics: Scouting Lake County
Coach: Josh Cimo (fourth season)
Last year's record: sixth in state, sectional champions, third in Independent Conference
Top graduated gymnasts: Alex Pong (fifth in state all-around, ninth on floor exercise, 10th on still rings, state finals on vault and high bar), Jack Burke, Ben Reichert, Christian Womack
Top returning gymnasts: seniors Mark Pickar (all-around), Ryan Flores (four to five events, state qualifier on pommel horse); junior Adrian Metcalf (all-around, state qualifier on still rings and parallel bars); sophomore Andrew Jacobs (four events due to injury)
Key newcomers: junior Jade Fisher (three events)
Outlook: With first-year senior gymnast Alex Pong in the lineup last spring, the Wildcats took full advantage of their small window of opportunity by reaching the Elite Eight and finishing sixth in the state. While Pong, Jack Burke and Ben Reichert will be missed, all is not lost this season. Junior Adrian Metcalf has suffered through a lot of injuries in his first two years at the varsity level, but if he is at close to 100-percent health, he should be a reliable contributor. "Our top three guys are gone so it's definitely a rebuilding year for our team," said coach Josh Cimo, whose team will open the new season March 14 against visiting Naperville Central. "Adrian (Metcalf) and Mark (Pickar) along with Ryan Flores will be the three anchors for our team this year. They pretty much replaced the second and third guys from last year. But we're not going to be putting up those 9's that Alex (Pong) was providing for us last year." Despite all of the key losses to graduation, Cimo is optimistic that the Wildcats will eventually score in the 130 to 135-point range.
Coach: Jesse Piland (seventh season)
Last year's record: second at sectionals, second in Independent Conference
Top graduated gymnasts: Colin McCarthy (University of Illinois club team, first in conference all-around in 2014, fourth in state all-around in 2013), Cameron Mueller (19th in state all-around, ninth on still rings), Jacob Petri, Alex Gomez, Carlos Marin
Top returning gymnasts: junior Brandon Swanson (all-around); sophomore Greg Godellas (all-around)
Key newcomers: juniors Andrew Locke (all-around), Ismael Antunez (three events); sophomores Yianni Wiechering (all-around), Noe Alcantar (three events); freshman Carson Burnett (all-around)
Outlook: The IHSA's decision to not allow club gymnast Colin McCarthy to compete in the state series prevented the Mustangs from advancing to the Elite Eight meet for the 21st time in school history last season. Mundelein did manage to place second in the sectional behind the also graduated Cameron Mueller and a solid cast of role contributors. But without any seniors on the 2015 squad, the Mustangs will be facing an uphill struggle as they attempt to build for the future. The roster should be solid as young all-arounders Brandon Swanson and Greg Godellas provide the Mustangs a decent nucleus to build around for years to come. "Depending on where all of the other teams in the state are, we should be pretty competitive," said coach Jesse Piland, who expects his team to eventually score in the 130s. "We will bring up some of our freshmen and sophomores later in the season after they experience some success at the fresh-soph level." The Mustangs will be hard-pressed to reach the state meet as a team May 15 at Hinsdale Central. But they should be fairly well-represented the following day with some gymnasts managing to make the cut for the individual competition on May 16.
Coach: Eric Liva (third season)
Last year's record: second in state, sectional champions, first in Independent Conference
Top graduated gymnasts: Zack Gilbert (fourth in state all-around, fifth on pommel horse, sixth on parallel bars, seventh on vault, eighth on high bar), Jacob Guth (14th in state all-around, fourth on high bar), Christian Courtney
Top returning gymnasts: seniors Arie Feltman-Frank (all-around, third on high bar, 13th in state all-around in 2013), Elijah Klaber (all-around, sixth on pommel horse); sophomore Matt Krames (all-around)
Key newcomers: none
Outlook: After placing third in the state in 2013 and second last year, the Patriots are facing a lack of depth. That could make it difficult from then to even qualify for the state meet this season. With only three gymnasts competing at the varsity level, Stevenson has absolutely no room for error, as there will be no fourth or fifth scores to fall back on when there is a missed routine. As Coach Eric Liva joked, his small squad's motto this year is similar to the Marines, but with a slightly different twist. Liva referred to his three-man team as "The Few, The Proud, the Patriots." "Our varsity is a three-man show as we speak. We're going to try our best, but we have zero wiggle room with only three kids," said Liva, who has guided teams from three different schools to numerous Elite Eight appearances and top-three trophies dating back to 1992. "Arie (Feltman-Frank) is battling serious wrist problems that he had even last year, but skill-wise he is a serious contender to be the state champ on high bar." Not only is Feltman-Frank a three-time state finalist on high bar, but Elijah Klaber is a standout on pommel horse with a sixth-place state finish as a junior. Matt Krames could be a major force on floor exercise as he and Klaber go from competing in five events last season to being forced into the all-around competition this spring due to the Patriots' complete lack of depth. "(Klaber) is very consistent, nothing flashy," Liva said. "His best events are pommel horse and parallel bars."