Boys gymnastics: Mundelein preps for postseason with conference victory
The Independent Conference boys gymnastics meet was the first step in what Mundelein hopes is a very successful end to the season.
The Mustangs came through like champions in the pressure-packed meet at Stevenson as they rolled to first place, scoring 145.4 to better the total of 132.4 from runner-up Glenbard East.
Glenbard South edged the host Patriots 127.05 to 126.55 for third place while Libertyville's injury-depleted team had to settle for fifth place with 119.6 points. Fenton (95.8 points) placed sixth.
Mundelein's surge to its first conference crown since 2013 was led by senior all-around champion Brandon Swanson, who scored 51.25 points (8.54 average) to really set the tone for the Mustangs.
Stevenson junior Matt Krames (8.36 average) was a pretty close runner-up with 50.15 points while Mundelein junior Greg Godellas placed third overall with 47.8 points.
"Brandon looked fantastic, but the rest of the group has to step up to his level of competition," said Mundelein coach Jesse Piland, whose team will host the second of five sectional meets next Thursday. "It was his best meet of the season and he came through big for us."
Glenbard East's solid effort was led by senior Matt Le, who outdistanced Libertyville junior A.J. Jacob 45.2 to 44.2 for fourth place in the all-around competition.
"The seniors were really charged up, and everybody stepped up their performances tonight," said Glenbard East coach Bruce Beiersdorf, whose team will compete in the Glenbard West sectional meet a week from Friday. "Marc (Le) did a really good job on parallel bars, and Matt (Le) came out strong on his difficult still rings routine."
Krames was the floor exercise champion with a 9.3 while he added winning scores of 9.15 on vault, and 8.8 on parallel bars.
But as was the case with Libertyville, the Patriots' lineup was without three gymnasts Wednesday night that could have pushed Stevenson over the 130-point plateau for the first time this season.
"We would have broken 130 if we had our full strength, so hopefully we'll have them at sectionals and we'll hit that 130," said Stevenson coach Joe Rogalski. "Matt (Krames) had a great meet overall. We added a few little changes to pick up a few tenths, and we're hoping to pick up a few more tenths before sectionals."
The Wildcats were really hurt by the absence of Jade Fisher, Jake Reichert, and Erik Meyer from their lineup due to injury, and Libertyville coach Josh Cimo is hoping to have Fisher and Reichert back in time to compete at sectionals.
"We were without three of our key gymnasts due to injury, and that probably cost us a total of 15 points we calculated," said Cimo, whose team was preparing to score in the mid-130's before the injury bug hit last week. "Pat (Tanski) did awesome tonight going four for six, and A.J. started the meet off three for four. But we're trying to get him consistent on all six events."
Swanson took home individual titles on still rings (8.75), and high bar (8.2) while Godellas continued to shine on pommel horse with a first-place mark of 8.9.
"Tonight was a rough night for us, we didn't get off to a good start," said Swanson, whose team struggled with 24.7 points to start the meet on vault. "We have to get our consistency up, but other than that we had a pretty good meet."
Swanson added second-place scores of 8.8 on floor exercise, and 8.2 on pommel horse while Matt Le took second on vault (9.1), and still rings (8.7). Marc Le added a second-place tie with Swanson on parallel bars (8.4) while Krames (7.9) placed second on high bar.
Tanski and Mundelein's Noe Alcantar (8.3) tied for fourth on parallel bars while Marc Le captured third on floor (8.7), and high bar (7.5).
Glenbard South's Neil Livingston placed seventh overall with 42.55 points, including a fourth-place 8.6 on floor. The Raiders also got a fifth-place 8.5 from Stephen Bean on floor.
Mundelein's Yianni Wiechering placed third on pommel horse with a 7.9 while Godellas placed third on still rings (8.1).