Stevenson conjures up another season-best score
Top-ranked Stevenson could not have dreamed of a better meet for a sectional tune-up than the Independent Conference boys gymnastics meet Wednesday night at Mundelein.
The Patriots soared to their second straight Independent Conference championship by scoring a season-high 155.05 points to easily topple their previous season best of 152.45.
Libertyville had a solid performance to finish in second place with 140.75 points while the host Mustangs (134.55 points) placed third.
Glenbard East outdistanced Glenbard South 131.95 to 127.05 for fourth place, while Fenton (115.7) placed sixth.
Stevenson's top all-around trio all surpassed the 50-point plateau with overall champion Elijah Klaber hitting a career-high 52.4 points (8.73 average) to lead the Patriots' scoring.
Senior Arie Feltman-Frank was not far behind Klaber in second place overall with 52.1 points (8.68 average) while Mundelein junior Brandon Swanson (50.9 points) placed third.
Stevenson sophomore Matt Krames also hit a career-high 50.55 points to put the Pats' in a great position heading into their own sectional next Thursday night in Lincolnshire.
"I hope they do this at sectionals and state, and all they talked about is they wanted to be conference champions," said Stevenson coach Eric Liva, whose team placed second in the state last spring. "We talked about where we left tenths out there in previous meets, and we said, 'Now let's go get them back.' "
Klaber was the champion on parallel bars (9.1), pommel horse (8.9), and still rings (8.8) while Feltman-Frank won high bar with an 8.7. Krames took home first place on floor exercise (9.3), and still rings (8.8).
"After starting off slowly on high bar with a fall for me, we had to fight back the whole meet," said Klaber, whose team is now facing a potential showdown with upstart squad Niles West at the state meet. "We've just got to do what we did today at sectionals, and we're going to try to improve and score 156 next week."
Libertyville's effort was led by senior Mark Pickar, who placed fifth in the all-around with 46.45 points. If all goes well next week at sectionals, both the Wildcats and Mundelein could have a shot at one of the three at-large team berths to the Elite Eight meet.
"They looked awesome today, we hit our first three events (pommel horse, still rings, and vault), and we hit high bar again," said Libertyville coach Josh Cimo, whose team placed sixth in the state last year. "The guys looked a lot more focused, determined, and driven, and the energy was just high for the whole meet and it showed."
Swanson continues to look strong for Mundelein, and the Mustangs are expected to bring up a few gymnasts to help their scoring at sectionals next week.
"It was an alright meet aside from high bar, but I just have to get back in the gym and train some more," said Swanson, whose team scored 24.8 points on vault. "We're looking to hit close to 140 at sectionals and at least have a shot at at-large."
With the addition of sophomores Greg Godellas and Yianni Wiechering to the lineup, Mundelein coach Jesse Piland is optimistic that his team can do much better at sectionals.
"I'm very pleased, and we are ready to make some noise at sectionals when we put in the full lineup," Piland said. "They (Godellas and Wiechering) will definitely be a big part of our team score when they come up (to varsity) next week."
Glenbard South's Erc McGovern (44.8) placed sixth in the all-around followed by Glenbard East's Matt Le (43.8) in seventh, and Fenton's Oscar Garza (41.3) in eigthth.
"It was a good meet for us, and we still have a lot of room to grow for sectionals," said Glenbard East coach Jun Wun. "Matt Le did well and yesterday he jammed his thumb, but he still did all-around today."
Feltman-Frank placed second on floor (8.9), and still rings (8.7) while Swanson was the runner-up on pommel horse with an 8.8.
Klaber added a second-place 9.15 on vault while Krames placed second on parallel bars (8.45), and high bar (8.1).
Libertyville junior Adrian Metcalf placed third on parallel bars with an 8.45 while teammate Ryan Flores placed fourth on pommel horse with an 8.5. Fenton's Julio Ortiz placed fifth on vault with an 8.8.