Stevenson edges Libertyville in scaled-back dual

 
By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/23/2015 9:16 PM

After scoring a state-best 152.45 points Monday at Barrington, illness and injuries really took their toll on host Stevenson in an Independent Conference boys gymnastics dual meet Thursday night in Lincolnshire.

The Patriots' senior night did not live up to what was anticipated going into their showdown against arch rival Libertyville, which was also short-handed.

 

But the meet did still wind up going down to the wire with Stevenson (3-0, 1-0) pulling out a 124.3 to 123.9 victory over the Wildcats (1-2, 1-1).

The Pats were without elite all-arounder Arie Feltman-Frank, who missed the meet due to illness -- as did top Libertyville all-arounder Adrian Metcalf, who did not compete for the Wildcats due to sickness.

Not only was Feltman-Frank out for the Patriots, but junior all-arounder Elijah Klaber only competed in four events because of a hand injury while sophomore teammate Matt Krames only competed in five events due to a forearm injury.

Both Stevenson and Libertyville are gearing up for the Niles North Invitational on Friday night as well as the Independent Conference meet next week at Mundelein.

"I think the kids did a very good job considering we watered down some routines to get to the finish line tonight," said Stevenson coach Eric Liva, whose team still managed to score 24.9 points on floor exercise and 24.8 points on vault. "In the events they (Klaber and Krames) worked, they did a very good job. But I was most happy with how our sophomores stepped up tonight. Dash Rosenberg worked floor, rings, and vault, and he did a very good job on all three."

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After scoring 49.9 points overall in the Barrington meet, Krames was very consistent Thursday night with first-place scores of 8.9 on floor exercise, 8.6 on vault, 8.5 on still rings, and 8.0 on high bar.

Klaber took home first place on parallel bars with an 8.2, and first on pommel horse with an 8.1 after scoring a team-high 51.4 points Monday.

With the only 150-plus score in the state so far this season, top-ranked Stevenson continues to focus on winning the state championship May 15 at Hinsdale Central.

"Our goal is to get first as a team for sure and my goal is to get top five in the all-around," said Krames, who expects to return to the all-around competition at Niles North. "We're looking for me to put in a few harder skills so I can meet all of the requirements on pommel horse and high bar and this will improve my starting value by 0.7 on both of those events."

Libertyville all-arounder Mark Pickar only competed in five events, and was also at much less than 100 percent healthy for the big showdown.

"We were without our No. 1 guy (Metcalf), and Mark (Pickar) has the flu too so you could just tell his energy and strength was gone," said Libertyville coach Josh Cimo, whose team has a season-high score of 137 points. "Ryan (Flores) only did two of his four events because of his hand injuries. We're preparing for tomorrow, and we want them to be fresh for the conference meet."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Klaber added second-place marks of 8.5 on floor exercise, and 8.5 on vault while Krames was the runner-up on parallel bars with an 8.1.

Flores placed second on pommel horse (7.7), and still rings (7.6) while Pickar (6.0) was the runner-up on high bar.

Libertyville's Jade Fisher took home third place on floor exercise with an 8.4 while teammate Andrew Jacobs placed third on vault (8.3), and pommel horse (6.5).

"Mark (Pickar) did five events and he looked decent, but he was just sluggish in everything," added Cimo, whose team scored 24.0 points on both floor exercise and vault. "I think we can take second at conference if we are all fresh and healthy. We've had only one meet this year when we were all healthy and we were just sloppy in that meet."

As the final three weeks of the season are approaching, Liva is also hoping that the Patriots can get healthy and stay healthy throughout the state series. But he is taking one step at a time with the conference meet as his squad's main focus right now.

"We just have to be at full strength at conference," added Liva. "Things are looking good as long as we're at full strength, and if I have my terrific trio things should go well at conference."

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