Boys gymnastics: State meet scouting, Lake County
What: 64th annual IHSA boys state gymnastics meet
Where: Hinsdale Central High School
When: Friday, team and all-around championship begins at 6 p.m. (all six events run concurrently); Saturday, individual championship preliminary round begins at noon, finals on floor exercise and pommel horse begin at 7 p.m.
Elite Eight team qualifiers (in ranked order): 1. Wheaton co-op, 2. Stevenson, 3. Willowbrook, 4. Glenbard West, 5. Niles West, 6. Deerfield (at-large), 7. Fremd (at-large), 8. Schaumburg (at-large)
Individual area qualifiers (in ranked order):
Floor exercise -- Stevenson sophomore Matt Krames, Stevenson senior Elijah Klaber, Stevenson senior Arie Feltman-Frank, Cary-Grove freshman Luka Sisauri
Pommel horse -- Dundee-Crown junior Satchel Hudson, Mundelein sophomore Greg Godellas, Sisauri (C-G), Klaber (Stev), Libertyville senior Ryan Flores, Mundelein sophomore Yianni Wiechering
Still rings -- Klaber (Stev), Feltman-Frank (Stev), Krames (Stev), Libertyville junior Adrian Metcalf, Godellas (Mund), Mundelein junior Brandon Swanson, Hudson (D-C), Libertyville senior Max Smith
Vault -- Hudson (D-C), Krames (Stev), Klaber (Stev), Dundee-Crown sophomore Jack Russell, Feltman-Frank (Stev), Swanson (Mund)
Parallel bars -- Feltman-Frank (Stev), Klaber (Stev), Swanson (Mund), Godellas (Mund), Krames (Stev), Metcalf (Lib), Mundelein junior Noe Alcantar
High bar -- Feltman-Frank (Stev), Swanson (Mund), Klaber (Stev), Krames (Stev), Hudson (D-C), Sisauri (C-G), Metcalf (Lib)
All-around -- Klaber (Stev), Feltman-Frank (Stev), Hudson (D-C), Krames (Stev), Swanson (Mund), Godellas (Mund), Sisauri (C-G)
Outlook: After placing second in the state last year, Stevenson has the opportunity to capture its fifth state championship in school history. The Patriots and three-time defending state champion Wheaton co-op are expected to battle it out for the title.
The Patriots scored a season-high 155.05 points to win the Independent Conference crown two weeks ago. But they slumped to a 152.3 at sectionals after really struggling on pommel horse with an uncharacteristic 22.05 points. Wheaton co-op scored 153.15 points in winning its sectional meet. "We lost two points on pommel horse, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say we are going to do a lot of pommel horse this week," said Stevenson coach Eric Liva following the sectional meet. "Coming out of this (sectional) meet healthy is big. This is nothing but a qualifying meet, and last year we were the sixth ranked team going into the state meet. When the top eight teams have the same judges on the same night in the same gym we'll see how we stack up."
The Patriots' relatively young program has seen plenty of success dating back to their first season in 1997 with four first-place finishes (2002, 2003, 2004, 2010), a second (2014) and three thirds (1999, 2001, 2013). Liva hopes to bring home a ninth top-three trophy this weekend.
Feltman-Frank placed third in the state for the Pats last year on high bar, while Klaber finished sixth in the state on pommel horse.
Mundelein's young squad missed qualifying for its 21st Elite Eight appearance by only 0.9 points last week. But the Mustangs will still be well represented at the state meet with Swanson and Godellas both qualifying for the all-around competition on Friday.
"We did come through with some things that I did not expect (at sectionals), and it was a season-high score," said Mundelein coach Jesse Piland, who is in his seventh season. "I'm very happy with the way my guys competed, and Brandon (Swanson), and Greg (Godellas) have state meet experience."
After placing sixth in the state last year, Libertyville will have Metcalf and Flores returning to the state meet as individuals this season along with newcomer Max Smith on still rings.
Wheaton co-op is aiming for a fourth straight state championship. But none of its previous three state titles was as close as the 2015 state meet is projected to be with only a 0.85-point separation between the top-ranked Tigers and No. 2 Stevenson in sectional competition this spring.
-- John Bumbales