Injuries no obstacle for Wheaton Warrenville co-op

By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/8/2018 10:27 PM

The boys gymnastics season is just under way and Wheaton Warrenville co-op is already a little banged up.

It's also scoring nearly where it left off when it placed sixth in the state last May.

In its DuPage Valley Conference opener on Thursday, Wheaton co-op cruised past Glenbard East, 149.1 to 132.7 at Wheaton Warrenville South.

"Right now it's really just getting our younger guys started and getting things moving," Wheaton co-op coach Greg Gebhardt said. "It's hard to get the boulder going, but once you get some momentum you'll have some success at meets. We did a few new things today, which was good."

Seniors Joey DiRienzo and Aiden Moran are going to have a big say with regard to how well Wheaton co-op does this season and both are battling their share of aches and pains. It didn't stop them from competing in their home opener.

"Joey is taking off right where he left off last year, which is excellent," Gebhardt said. "He looks better already now than he did at the end of last year. And he's doing floor and vault because he's had hip problems chronically since sophomore year, so today was the first tsuk he competed, which was huge."

DiRienzo had top-three finishes in four events, including a first-place effort on parallel bars en route to taking second in the all-around with a 49.6. Moran placed third on pommel horse, high bar and still rings.

"Aiden is doing what he can," Gebhardt said. "He's coming off some injury stuff and is now up to four events. He tried to swing high bar for the first time a couple of days ago so that was nice to see."

As was freshman phenom Nicky Franz, who won three events for the co-op, including pommel horse with a 9.6. Sophomore newcomer Cade Houlihan added a 45.0 in the all-around, which included an 8.2 on vault.

"We know what Nicky is going to be able to give us," Gebhardt said. "We're going to have to get better on floor and vault and I think our high bar will be very good at the end. I don't know if we'll be 160s good, but I think we'll be better than what we were last year."

For now there's no reason to rush the process.

"We were just kind of looking to hit today and kind of improve on our last meet," DiRienzo said. "We're still getting sets down and slowly getting back all of our skills and especially trying to get guys back from injury."

That doesn't mean there isn't lots of early excitement.

"We started where we left off last year so that's encouraging and the whole team is excited," Moran said. "For the start of the season we're not satisfied, but we're happy."

Glenbard East senior Marc Le won the all-around with a 51.3. He also had top honors on still rings and parallel bars.

"It was a typical meet for Marc," Rams coach Wayne Hill said. "He's doing well. He probably took some time off in the off-season, so it's going to take him some time to totally come back."

Sean O'Hara contributed a pair of third-place efforts on floor and vault for a Rams team that received scores from several gymnasts, including three from Jamylenn Miles.

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