Stevenson scores a Scorza victory

 
By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/18/2015 4:30 PM

The Stevenson boys gymnastics team has quietly emerged as the team to beat when the state series rolls around in mid May.

The top-ranked Patriots showed that they are on track to potentially raise the state's first-place state trophy as they soared to the championship of the 36th Annual Ken Scorza Invitational Saturday afternoon at York High School in Elmhurst.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

After winning the Lake Park Invite Friday night with 149.45 points, Stevenson did itself one better Saturday with a winning score of 149.725 points this time around.

Hersey held off Deerfield 133.65 to 132.1 for second place while the host Dukes and Mundelein tied for fourth place with 128.7 points. Downers Grove South nipped Rolling Meadows 118.4 to 117.2 for seventh place.

Stevenson's "terrific trio" of all-arounders was once again the key to success as the Pats' got a first-place 51.55 points (8.59 average) from senior Arie Feltman-Frank, a second-place 50.05 points (8.34 average) from senior Elijah Klaber, and a fourth-place 48.125 points (8.02 average) from sophomore Matt Krames.

The Patriots have already scored over 151 points in a meet this spring for the highest team score in the state. But squads like No. 2-ranked Wheaton-Warrenville co-op and No. 3-ranked Willowbrook will provide some very tough competition at the May 15 state meet.

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"We've just got to find a way to get into the 150's, but I'm very proud of the kids and it's nice to see they are in shape because back to back meets are tough," said Stevenson coach Eric Liva, whose team won the York meet for the third straight year. "They want to win it (state), they want to go the season undefeated, and win conference, sectionals, and state. We have to keep them healthy because we have three kids we're counting on."

Feltman-Frank took home first place on high bar with an 8.7 while Krames was the runner-up on floor exercise with a 9.0. Feltman-Frank added a second-place 8.6 on still rings, and a second-place 8.6 on parallel bars.

Klaber placed third on floor exercise (8.8), and third on high bar (7.9). But he knows he still has plenty of room for improvement this season.

"That (50.05) is a season-high, but I can probably score a few points higher with falls on pommel horse and still rings today," said Klaber, who just returned to the all-around competition Friday after recovering from tendinitis in his knee. "Our goal for the last three years has been to win state even if we only have three guys on the team and it's going to be close with Wheaton right behind us."

Hersey had a season-high of 142.7 earlier this season, and the Huskies were led by all-arounders Matt Phelps (44.2 points) in ninth, and junior teammate Will Nicholson (41.5 points) in 11th. Jon Phelps bolstered Hersey's scoring with fifth-place marks on vault (9.0), and parallel bars (8.25).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I think our boys put up a good fight, they competed hard, and they have a way of pulling themselves together and producing some high-quality gymnastics," said Hersey coach Dustin Berman, whose team scored 25.65 points on vault. "We took this meet as a way to prepare for the conference and state series, and I want them to start competing like this is a high-stakes competition."

Mundelein was without an in important component as key junior all-arounder Brandon Swanson did not compete for the Mustangs. In spite of that, Mundelein still performed very well behind sophomore Greg Godellas (45.6) placing seventh overall. Mundelein sophomore Yianni Wiechering (40.8) wound up in a 12th-place tie overall with Rolling Meadows' Conor Thomas.

"It's still not our best meet, but we're looking to be competitive at the end of the season with everyone together," said Mundelein coach Jesse Piland, whose team scored 23.8 points on vault. "Greg Godellas stepped up big-time today, and that's about as high an all-around score as he's gotten so far."

Downers Grove South's squad was led by junior Evan Baird, who placed eighth in the all-around with 45.3 points. Baird took second on high bar with an 8.2, and fourth on parallel bars with an 8.3.

"The judging here is probably more accurate to what it will be at conference and sectionals and you see some of the best judges in the state at this meet," said Downers Grove South coach Dan Fenton, whose team has a season-high score of 131. "We watered down Evan's routines on floor exercise and vault today because he rolled his ankle about a week ago."

Godellas was the pommel horse champion with an 8.9 and he took home a first-place medal on parallel bars with an 8.7.

York's Sam Bode placed third in the all-around with 49.9 points while Highland Park's Andy Kaufmann (46.5) tied for fifth overall with Deerfield's Heath Ogawa.

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