Boys gymnastics: Lake Park freshman Vachlin lands sectional all-around title

By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/8/2021 5:19 PM

Lake Park's Karl Vachlin was in search of just one soft landing. So the freshman was shocked when he was able to come up with six of them.

"I have had trouble sticking my dismounts all year," Vachlin said. "It just hasn't happened. In the last two weeks, I didn't stick one of them. But this week it changed. It was my mindset. I knew I could do it and I did."


Vachlin used those perfect landings to win the all-around title at the Lake Park sectional Saturday in Medinah. Vachlin scored a 53.15 and also won the rings (8.55), parallel bars (9.50) and the high bar (9.40).

"He is very coachable," Lake Park coach Frank Novakowski. "He has worked really hard this year on his routines. He obviously had some experience coming in. But he has really put a lot of effort into focusing on the technique and the form necessary to hit sets."

Prospect won the sectional team title with a 137.75, giving the Knights their first appearance a team in the state meet since 2006. The team competition will be next Saturday at Hoffman Estates at 11 a.m.

"We had a lot of misses, but we won the sectional," Prospect coach Julian Bessler said. "Our guys worked hard enough to get to this place and I am glad they got to enjoy it. We will take it. Now we can come from behind at state and hopefully do better."

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Prospect was led by Joe Kall, who was second in the all-around with a 51.25. Kall also won the vault with a 9.15.

Callahan Kraft also came up big for the Knights, finishing fifth in the all-around with a 48.20. Nathan Strachrya, Michael Maggio, Benjamin Pennino, Owen Kowalczyk and Powell Minorszyk also had their scores count for the Knights.

Hoffman Estates was second with a 129.35. The Hawks were led by Alex Serwatkiewicz, who won the floor (9.25) to become the first Hoffman gymnast since Jared Erlenbaugh in 2002 (floor, rings) to win an individual sectional title.

Serwatkiewicz also finished fourth in the all-around with a 48.50.

"I would have actually liked to have won the sectional," Hoffman Estates coach Ryan Brown said. "We are making steps. All of those boys are juniors and one sophomore so we will be back and we will make it in."

Lake Park was third with a 127.05. The Lancers lost all-arounder Octavia Owten to an injury this past week in practice. Without him, Lake Park had just two competitors in the pommel horse, rings and high bar.

The Lancers did get a solid performance from sophomore Ryan Czech, who was third in the all-around with a 51.05 and won the pommel horse with an 8.35.

"It was unfortunate," Novakowski said. "We still approach practice trying to do the best we could. I challenged our guys and look what we were able to do today."

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