Scouting DuPage County boys gmnastics

  • Karl Vachlin returns to Lake Park for his sophomore season after finishing second on high bar, fourth on floor and parallel bars and 11th in the all-around at last year's state meet.

      Karl Vachlin returns to Lake Park for his sophomore season after finishing second on high bar, fourth on floor and parallel bars and 11th in the all-around at last year's state meet. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Junior Avi Sharon is one of the top returners at Naperville North.

      Junior Avi Sharon is one of the top returners at Naperville North. John Starks | Staff Photographer

By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/14/2022 8:56 PM

DuPage County boys gymnastics season preview

Top DuPage teams: Downers Grove North, Lake Park, Naperville North, York


Top returning gymnasts: Renny Barnitz (York, jr., all-around), Colby Bormann (Downers Grove North so., pommel horse, parallel bars, high bar), Ryan Czech (Lake Park, jr., all-around), Parker Elisha (Downers Grove North, so., all-around), Nolan Fazzini (York, sr., all-around), Daniel Housour (Glenbard North, jr., all-around), Will Lanciloti (Glenbard West, jr., all-around), Luca Marzullo (Lake Park, so., floor), Frank Miceli (Downers Grove North, sr., parallel bars, pommel horse, high bar, still rings, vault), Rhodel Pidu (Glenbard West, sr., parallel bars, still rings), Avi Sharon (Naperville North, jr., all-around), Vaden Srey (Glenbard East, so., all-around), Karl Vachlin (Lake Park, so., all-around)

Outlook: Addison Trail will focus on strong basics and consistent techniques as it develops the program around senior Leomar Perez and junior Alex Hernandez, both all-arounders.

Downers Grove North lost some contributors from last year's state qualifying team, but despite a roster shake-up this spring, the Trojans should be in excellent shape with sophomore all-arounder Parker Elisha back to lead the way, along with senior Frank Miceli (all but floor) and sophomore three-event specialist Colby Bormann. Freshmen all-arounders Dan Swanson and Jake Mateja are also in the mix.

Downers Grove South has senior Michael Figueroa, who took 10th in the all-around at the Hinsdale South sectional last year with a 34.35, returning. Sophomore Spencer Schmidt is expected to step in right away and add to the team score as an all-arounder.

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Fenton welcomes several new gymnasts and Elvis Sanabria and Justin Dickeson return. Coach Paula Parat has a handful of freshmen, including Daniel Davila and Artur Zawitkowski. Sophomore Alberto Bracamontes and junior Alexander Zill also will contribute.

Glenbard East welcomes back sophomore all-arounder Vaden Srey as the scoring leader on a senior-heavy team. "Our JV seniors are very experienced and a strong group of four-year athletes," Rams coach Wayne Hill said. "We will keep this group together for most of the competitive season and then move individual athletes up to the varsity as the season moves on." Seniors Julian Reyna and Nick Bishop return as all-arounders while Emelio Reyna is a freshman to keep an eye on.

Glenbard North knows it can count on junior Daniel Housour to put up six strong scores as he's among the top all-arounders in the state. Getting those other scores around him so that the team can shine will fall into the hands of Mitchell Grafer, Brian Nguyen, Jamie Jacob and others.

Glenbard South will look to multi-sport athletes Noah Ball and Matt Drinane as all-arounders this spring.

Glenbard West graduated a pair of state qualifiers and return a couple as well in Will Lanciloti and Ian Jackson who are part of a strong senior class that also includes David Wuerter, Rhodel Pidu and Jacob Kowalczyk. "This year's team will use depth as its biggest strength," Hilltoppers coach Carlos Fuentes said. "We have a dozen different athletes on the varsity that will contribute to the team score." Sophomore all-arounders Lucas Jackson and Thomas Wuertzer have joined the squad.


Hinsdale Central scored its highest team score in three years at the Wanner Invite on March 5. "This has the Hinsdale program in line with (its) goals of qualifying to the state finals," Red Devils coach CJ Johnson said. "The time and effort from the members has been fantastic." Seniors Matthew Cihlar and Chris Reyes qualified for state as individuals last spring. Sophomores Marc Cihlar and Nikolas Theotikos round out the team's top scorers. Cihlar is a returning all-arounder while Theotikos is a four-event specialist that's a welcome addition.

Hinsdale South has a small varsity team so the Hornets will rely heavily on juniors Grant Balsys and Connor Wyent and sophomore Nick Jason as all-arounders. Junior floor and vault specialist Christopher Hardrick is a key addition.

Lake Park will be tough to beat if sophomores Karl Vachlin and Luca Marzullo and junior Ryan Czech are able to continue from where they left off last season. Vachlin finished second on high bar and fourth on floor and parallel bars at state. He also was 11th in the all-around while Czech was 15th. Marzullo provides a big floor score as he took eighth in the state last year. The key for the Lancers is staying healthy and picking up third scores in the five other events. Senior Martavious Owten and freshman Bryce Mensik are ready for that opportunity.

Naperville Central will be young with more than 17 of its gymnasts new this season but is hopeful to score as high, if not higher than a season ago. Sophomores Brady Bechtel and Tim Engman and senior Andrew Bajek return. Freshmen Andrew Pickert, Matthias Hautzinger and Jack Schwartz are among the top new Redhawks.

Naperville North has state qualifying junior Avi Sharon back along with sophomore all-arounder Jack Halama to give the Huskies a formidable 1-2 punch. Sophomore all-arounder Matas Budreika joins the team while junior Kai Goodrick and senior Randolph Roman return. "With hard work and focus we are hoping to be a bit more than just competitive," Huskies coach Chris Stanicek said. "We are hoping to work really hard this year and our focus is down the line. We are learning to work together as team and support each other."

Wheaton co-op lost a pair of state qualifying gymnasts to graduation but has a strong mix of returnees and newcomers that should have the team doing good things. Seniors Andrew Blair, Noah Hansfield, Jack Mitchell, Ryerson Reindl and Eduardo Ruiz all return while freshmen Patrick Malone, Jack Ongstag, sophomores Drew Berger, Lars Berger, Evan Johnson, juniors Michael Hertz and Brad Riggs and senior Jacob Sanders are among a big group that will battle to best boost the team score.

Willowbrook returns most of its pieces from last year and welcomes talented freshman Daniel Javier. The Blazers will look to build around Javier as sophomore Peter Catania and junior Matt Casey and Alex Swierk return.

York is in excellent position to return to state. The Dukes, who placed seventh among the state's elite teams last spring, have senior Nolan Fazzini and junior Renny Barnitz returning as all-arounders. Barnitz took 16th last year. Sophomore Dennis Sosnovvy, junior Joseph Qualtier and others are expected to contribute key scores in specialist roles, including replacing Luc Degrace's parallel bars score.

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