Glenbrook gymnasts hope to control their sectional destiny

Updated 5/6/2021 7:36 AM

If his athletes listen to Glenbrook North boys gymnastics coach Ryan Dul, they will learn things.

Not only in gymnastics, but in life.


"We can only control the controllable, and what we control is what we do," Dul said.

That sounds all new-agey, but coaches continually stress this mindset. Here it pertains to the Spartans' performance at the upcoming Glenbard West sectional, 6 p.m. Saturday.

"We just need to go out and do what we have to do. We're not worried about anyone else except for us," Dul said.

That's not a bad situation for Glenbrook North, which finished third in the state in 2019, the most recent state meet due to the COVID cancellations of 2020.

Seniors Will Henning and Daniel Lavrentiev and junior Drew Mutchnik were part of that third-place squad, with Lavrentiev finishing 12th on pommel horse and 19th on horizontal bar.

Glenbrook North finished second to Niles West by 7.100 points at last week's Central Suburban League meet. The team will have a full week's rest before the sectional, where the Spartans should enter as the favorite.

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"I think if we were to go based on scores and averages and high scores, I think that's how it looks," Dul said.

Lavrentiev is Glenbrook North's top all-around prospect. He placed third at the CSL meet with a pair of second-place finishes on parallel bars and horizontal bar.

Henning, however, has been consistent all season and finished his CSL career with a title on floor exercise. Mutchnik and seniors James Smith and Jack Diaz also lend team strength.

Unfortunately another senior, Mitchell Kietzman, suffered a season-ending injury at the conference meet.

"With Mitchell Kietzman getting hurt, that's kind of a setback. But the team is rallying around him to do well for him," Dul said.

The Glenbrook South Titans have a senior gymnast who, like Henning, has been strong all season.

That is senior Michael Smalec. On floor, rings, parallel bars and all-around, Glenbrook South coach and alumnus Brandon Tucker thinks Smalec is right there in contention for a state berth.


"He's had a lot of good meets. He needs to have a great meet on Saturday. I hope he can kind of turn it on and make it happen," said Tucker, who represented the Titans at the 1995 state meet on floor and vault his senior year.

Similar to Dul's advice, Tucker said, "It's under his control."

He feels the same way about a pair of hardworking juniors, rings specialist Jack Downing and Leigh Enesio, who placed eighth in pommel horse at the CSL meet.

Sal Monastero, Ethan Pecora and Toby Shinebayar also might vie for state positions, Tucker said.

"I think for all these athletes, it's all about their form," Tucker said. "They can all do these tricks, but it's who can stick the dismount and stay clean in their form."

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