Boys gymnastics: Mundelein muster up state-worthy effort
It is not quite a done deal just yet, but it looks like the Mundelein boys gymnastics team will be making their 21st trip in program history to the Elite Eight tournament next weekend at Hinsdale Central.
The host Mustangs had to settle for second place to IHSA sectional champion Deerfield on Thursday night; the Warriors scored 150.25 points. But Mundelein's score of 147.9 should qualify it for one of the three at-large team berths to the 65th annual state meet next Friday.
Wheaton co-op (148.1) won the first of five sectionals Wednesday night, and Mundelein currently holds the top at-large score by a comfortable margin over Hinsdale Central, which scored 145.8 points.
But with sectionals still to be held at Glenbard West Friday, Fremd Saturday afternoon, and Palatine Saturday night, there could be some nervous moments for Mundelein's fans and gymnasts if other teams are able to peak in their pressure-packed meets.
"I had a feeling Deerfield would edge us out, but this is a huge relief and satisfying that the guys stepped up under the biggest spotlight," said Mundelein coach Jesse Piland. "I said from the beginning I think 147 is going to do it, and I think we will make it."
Marquette-bound Mundelein senior Brandon Swanson really came through when the chips were down as he just missed his career high of 52 points to win the all-around competition with 51.9 points (8.65 average).
Buffalo Grove easily surpassed its previous season-high of 138.95 to capture third place with 142.95 points. Stevenson junior Matt Krames took third place in the all-around with 49.3 points despite having to count three falls.
Mundelein junior Greg Godellas gave his squad a big boost in fourth place overall (48.5 points) while teammate Yianni Wiechering overcame a potentially serious ankle injury in warm-ups to really help out the Mustangs' as their third scorer on their crucial pommel horse event.
"Everybody hit their routines, everybody did an awesome job, and we couldn't ask for better," said Swanson. "I'm shooting for anything higher than 52 (points), and I would like to finish in the top five."
The top five finishers in each of the six events and all-around automatically advance to the state meet while the at-large cut-off scores for state will be announced following the Palatine sectional Saturday night.
Buffalo Grove's Leo Cuellar was the still rings champ with an 8.95 while Libertyville's A.J. Jacob tied for first on vault with a 9.1. Buffalo Grove also had Jack Delattre reach state with a fourth-place finish on vault (8.95).
"It was by far our best meet of the year," said Buffalo Grove coach Zack Crandall. "We've been really working on the little things that we implemented tonight and that helped our team score."
Godellas won pommel horse with a 9.25 followed by Cary-Grove sophomore Luka Sisauri, who tied for second place with a 9.05. Sisauri tied for first place in the state on pommel horse as a freshman, and he also qualified for state Thursday with a fourth-place tie on high bar (7.45).
"He (Sisauri) has upgraded his (pommel horse) routine by three skills this year, including a travel with a 720-degree twist which is an E skill," said Cary-Grove coach Levan Sisauri. "So that sets him up kind of nice for state with the high starting value to his routine."
Stevenson never did reach the elusive 130-point plateau this season as the Patriots scored 127.55 points in the meet. Injury-plagued Libertyville wound up scoring 125.4 points.
"Matt (Krames) had three big falls, and our No. 2 guy on vault fell for the first time this season," said Stevenson coach Joe Rogalski. "Hopefully Matt gets all of the bad stuff out today and he has a great meet at state."
Buffalo Grove junior Daniel Gerovoy placed seventh overall with 45.5 points to edge Grayslake Central freshman Andrew Taylor (44.65) in eighth overall.
"Pat (Tanski) looked good on parallel bars and vault, and A.J. (Jacob) made state on vault so that was good," said Libertyville coach Josh Cimo. "If we had everybody we would have hit 133 or 134 so this was respectable."