Boys gymnastics: Mundelein passes big Cress test
With conference meets and the state series just around the corner, the 45th Annual John Cress Invitational was the last chance for many boys gymnasts to hone their skills Friday night at Niles North.
The outcome of the powerful 14-team meet came down to two likely Elite Eight qualifiers, with Mundelein holding off Deerfield 149.05 to 147.55 for the championship.
The Mustangs had fallen to the Warriors last weekend at the York Invite, but Deerfield was unable to match its season-high 157.45 mark with a less than full strength lineup for the big meet.
Libertyville was also unable to surpass its season-high score of 141.1 Friday, but the Wildcats still put together a very consistent meet with a third-place total of 139.6 points.
Glenbrook South nipped Niles West 136.35 to 136.3 for fifth place while Stevenson edged the host Vikings 127.6 to 127.4 for sixth place. Rolling Meadows (121.4) outdistanced Elk Grove (112.2) for ninth place.
Elite Stevenson senior Matt Krames just missed his career-high of 52.6, but Krames still rolled to the all-around championship with 52.3 points (8.72 average).
Mundelein's push to the team title was led by junior Tyler Collins (50.25 points) in second place, and senior teammate Greg Godellas (49.55) in fourth overall.
Rolling Meadows sophomore Ben Kowalski (49.8, 8.30 average) had a great meet to take third in the all-around.
"It was our best meet of the season so far, it wasn't our highest score, but it was definitely our best meet," said Collins, whose team has a season-high score of 152.7. "I think we have a good shot at state, but we really need to get consistent on every event."
Mundelein coach Jesse Piland is very optimistic as his team begins to prepare for the Independent Conference meet next week at Glenbard East.
"This was by far our best meet, the word we've been repeating all around the gym is compete, and we really focused as much on competing mentally as physically," said Piland, whose team is trying to reach the Elite Eight for the 22nd time in school history this spring. "Tyler (Collins) broke 50 in the all-around, and he had a very clean meet except for vault so he can do even better."
Krames was pretty much at the top of his game with an outstanding dismount and landing on high bar (9.4), and a great floor exercise (9.5) routine leading him to first place to close out the meet on those two events. Krames also placed second on parallel bars (9.1) while tying for second on still rings (8.5).
"Krames really nailed those last two events which is the toughest thing, and there were some state meet judges here so this will give us some insight for what they're looking for," said Stevenson coach Joe Rogalski. "Everyone was tired at the end of the week, but they brought it anyway so that was great."
Mundelein's scoring also got a boost from Yianni Wiechering, who placed seventh in the all-around. Libertyville teammates Matt Neuberger and Pat Tanski placed 10th and 12th respectively in the all-around.
The Wildcats also got a first-place 9.2 from Jake Reichert on vault followed closely by Kowalski (9.1) in second place.
"They did awesome tonight, and I would say they were five for six in hitting events," said Libertyville coach Josh Cimo, whose team scored 26.8 points on vault. "The pace of the meet (fast) really helped too, and there was very little down time."
Godellas was the runner-up on pommel horse with an 8.9 while Tanski tied for third place on parallel bars with an 8.9. Collins (8.9) placed second on high bar.
"He (Kowalski) kind of ditched out on floor a little bit which is unusual for him, but he still went five for six tonight," said Rolling Meadows coach Mike Costa, whose team scored 23.7 points on floor. "We're just cleaning up our routines for the end of the season, and Ryan Rettig has good fundamentals for a freshman."