Boys gymnastics: Glenbard East's Heabel enjoying gymnastics while he can

 
By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

A year from now, Jake Heabel plans on being at the University of Hawaii at Hilo studying marine biology.

On Thursday he was in the comforts of Glenbard East's gym.

The Glenbard East senior's time as a gymnast is coming to end, but he and his teammates are finishing strong as they celebrated Senior Night with a victory over Lake Park and Fenton during a triangular in Lombard.

The Rams finished with 126.4 points to Lake Park's 123.9. Fenton only had a couple gymnasts competing and scored a 22.5.

"I've never been to Hawaii yet, but I looked at the campus and it's just the right size and feel," Heabel said. "I know I'll miss gymnastics. I like the feel of this team. We have a good group of guys. They're like my brothers, I guess, like family."

It was certainly a joyous occasion for the Rams, who recognized Heabel and fellow seniors Elhadji Ndiaye, Shawn Nguyen, Sean O'Hara and Eddie Pojman.

"I had never done anything like this before where I was honored for all the hard work I put into it," Ndiaye said. "It feels good to celebrate. I've been here for two years and made a lot of good friends and have a lot of fun memories. It's really been awesome."

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O'Hara won floor and parallel bars and finished second in the all-around with a 46.4 to lead the Rams.

"I felt like it was a good meet," O'Hara said. "I messed up on pommel (horse), but other than that I felt like we had a good meet. We just want to keep being consistent with bigger skills and less deductions because of cleaner routines."

Junior O.J. Miles won vault and took second on floor for the Rams.

"Those are my two best events so I practice them the most," Miles said. "I felt cheated not getting to state on floor last year so I'm hungry to get there, and on vault again."

Lake Park was without all-arounder Matt Scimeca, and the junior's absence was evident in the team score not being in the 130s as it has been recently.

Still, the Lancers got another strong effort from senior Louie Ranieri, who won the all-around as well as pommel horse, still rings and high bar.

The Lancers are relying heavily on Ranieri and Scimeca's contributions and pursuing that third score from a group of gymnasts, including a handful of seniors, who are trying to boost that team total.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We're making progress both with skills and our routines, as well as a team," Lake Park senior Michal Guzek said. "We're getting stronger in a lot of ways."

Lancers senior Lukasz Makowiecki competed in four events, including high bar, where he took third.

"My high bar is what's going best for me right now," he said. "My giants are getting cleaner and I'm just trying to throw pirouettes now and other stuff. We're just all trying super hard at this point. We're learning new skills. We've got the muscles and conditioning so we're ready now."

The Lancers opened the season with a 116.6 and hit as high as a 134.125 last Saturday at Addison Trail.

"I thought we were capable of doing this," Lancers senior Jacob Tutoky said. "We cleaned things up a bit, and it's not much on skills, but more on form and we've just worked those skills and have cleaner routines and it all adds up. The less deductions we have, the better our scores are."

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