Stevenson charges to state with sectional title
It was not a picture-perfect ending, but host Stevenson still had plenty of high notes Thursday night in the boys gymnastics sectional it hosted.
The Patriots soared to the championship of the eight-team meet with 152.3 points to easily earn the automatic berth to the Elite Eight state meet next Friday at Hinsdale Central.
Second-place squad Deerfield appears to be in a great position to capture one of the three-at large team berths to the state meet after scoring 145.1 points, while third-place team Mundelein (141.925 points) currently has the second best at-large score with three sectionals remaining on Friday and Saturday.
Fourth-place Glenbrook South (141.4 points) also has an outside shot as an at-large berth followed closely Thursday by Buffalo Grove (140.7) in fifth. Libertyville finished sixth with 136.25 points.
The top five individuals in each event earn a berth to the state meet next Saturday while the top 25 at-large individuals, and the top 15 at-large all-arounders will also compete at state.
Stevenson's road to the championship was going just great until the Patriots stepped up to their final event on pommel horse.
After scoring 155.05 points in winning the Independent Conference meet last week, the Pats just needed to put together a solid performance on p-horse and they would surpass that season-high team score.
But trouble arrived with Stevenson only hitting 22.05 points on pommel horse and the Patriots had to settle for the 152.3 which currently ranks them second behind Wheaton co-op with 153.15 points on Wednesday night.
"We had an unbelievable meet going until the last event, we were literally 15-for-15 on our routines," said Stevenson coach Eric Liva. "We had a great meet, there is no question about it. But I'm just heartsick for Arie (Feltman-Frank) on pommel horse (three falls) because he has been one of the best gymnasts in the state on that event."
Despite having to count a 6.8 on pommel horse, Feltman-Frank (51.0 points) still managed to finish second in the all-around competition to senior teammate Elijah Klaber (51.7 points), who wound up with an 8.62 average.
"We had a great meet on the first five events, but we scored 2 to 2½ points lower than we should have scored on pommel horse," said Klaber, "Next week we're really going to focus on hitting pommel horse and my high bar routine, and we never have problems on any other event."
Stevenson sophomore Matt Krames (49.6) placed sixth in the all-around despite counting a 6.65 on p-horse. Mundelein got a great 1-2 punch from teammates Brandon Swanson (49.125), and Greg Godellas (47.5), who placed seventh and eighth overall.
Mundelein coach Jesse Piland is cautiously optimistic that his team's score will hold up for one of the at-large berths to state. The cut-off scores for the individuals and teams will be announced following the final sectional Saturday night at Hoffman Estates.
"I'm very happy with the way my guys competed, it wasn't by any means a perfect meet, but I am so proud," Piland said. "We left a lot out there, some of it was nerves, and some of it was inexperience. Yianni (Wiechering) came up big on vault, high bar, and pommel horse, and Greg (Godellas) was big on high bar, pommel horse, and still rings."
Libertyville's Adrian Metcalf tied for sixth on still rings with an 8.4 while teammate Mark Pickar placed 15th overall. Wiechering placed 16th overall.
"I think the guys knew we had to go six for six tonight, and we fell apart on pommel horse which was our first event," said Libertyville coach Josh Cimo. "We were an average of three to fourth tenths lower per guy on each event so it was not our best meet."
Buffalo Grove's Tyler Cho placed third on parallel bars with an 8.7 while teammate Sasha Varvaruk tied for fourth on floor exercise with a 9.0.
"Our goal was to get as many guys to state as possible," said Buffalo Grove coach Zack Crandall. "I think Tyler (Cho) is doing a great job for just coming back two weeks ago and he's very clean on parallel bars."
Cary-Grove freshman Luka Sisauri placed 10th overall, and he earned a berth to state with a third-place 8.65 on pommel horse. Sisauri tied for sixth on high bar.
"He (Sisauri) was doing club, but he's only doing high school this year, and this is only his second meet," said Cary-Grove coach Levan Sisauri, who is Luka's father. "His best event is pommel horse and he scored an 8.65 with a fall tonight on that event."
Feltman-Frank was the parallel bars champ with an 8.95, and the high bar champ with an 8.8 while Krames (9.3) won vault. Krames added a second-place 9.1 on floor while Godellas (8.75) placed second on pommel horse. Swanson (8.1) was the runner-up on high bar.