Boys gymnastics: Mundelein returns to form at Niles North
After a subpar performance last weekend at York, the Mundelein boys gymnastics team wanted to get back on track Saturday at the 46th Annual John Cress Invitational at Niles North.
And the Mustangs did just that as they rolled to the championship of the 14-team meet with 153.65 points to topple runner-up and Independent Conference rival Libertyville (146.05).
Using a unique format for the meet this year with each varsity and JV squad only allowed three gymnasts per event, and counting all three of those scores, there was little room for error.
Neither top-ranked Deerfield (14th place), or Highland Park (eighth place) fielded full varsity teams as they prepare for conference, sectional, and state meets coming up over the next three weeks.
The host Vikings held off Niles West 145.25 to 143.75 for third place, while Buffalo Grove placed fifth with 136.7 points. Glenbrook North nipped Rolling Meadows 131.75 to 131.2 for sixth place.
Using only its three top all-around gymnasts in the meet, Mundelein's road to the title was paved by senior Tyler Collins, who rolled to the all-around championship with 53.9 points (8.98 average).
The Mustangs also got an outstanding performance from all-around runner-up Kurt Lawrence with 51.65 points (8.61 average) while Rolling Meadows junior Ben Kowalski was a very close third with 51.4 points.
"Our goal was to come back today and get into the rhythm of competing after an off meet at York," said Mundelein coach Jesse Piland, whose team scored 27.45 points on vault, and 27.4 points on floor exercise. "We had a much better performance as a team, and Tyler (Collins) had a really solid meet."
Mundelein junior Will Ferro (48.1 points) placed fifth overall followed by Rolling Meadows teammates David Rasmussen (43.2) in seventh, and Shivam Patel (36.6) in 10th. Stevenson teammates Danny Less and Aaron Rudloff placed 12th and 13th respectively overall. Fenton's Omar Lopez placed 14th overall followed by teammate Austin Adkins in 15th.
"Ryan Rettig did not compete today because he hurt his back, but Shivam Patel stepped up today in the all-around," said Rolling Meadows coach Mike Costa. "We still have some work to do on a couple of events, we need to add some skills, and we can roll out a 145 if we can clean up some stuff."
Libertyville used an all-around team effort to capture second place as a team with a 26.25 on vault, and a 26.0 on parallel bars leading the way.
"The last two weeks we went 148 so we were a little down today, but the pressure of three up three count got to their nerves," said Libertyville coach Josh Cimo, whose team also scored 25.7 points on high bar. "We started off a little sluggish on the first two events (floor and pommel horse), and then we finished up strong on the last three events."
Collins took home first place on vault (9.7), floor (9.5), and high bar (9.1) while Kowalski continued to shine with a winning score of 8.6 on pommel horse.
Kowalski also tied for first place on parallel bars with Glenbrook North's Casey Mutchnik (9.3) while Collins was the runner up on pommel horse with an 8.2.
Lawrence added a second-place 8.8 on high bar, and a third-place 9.2 on parallel bars. Libertyville teammates Matt Neuberger (8.7), Max Faber (8.6), and Tyler Kukla (8.4) placed third, fourth, and fifth respectively on high bar.
Buffalo Grove's best event was a 26.6 on floor exercise while the Bison added a 25.0 on parallel bars. Vlad Varvaruk (9.0) led Buffalo Grove with a fifth-place tie on floor.
"We're missing one of our top guys on floor and vault (Bartek Orlowski) so that hurt not having him with only three guys on each event and counting it when somebody falls," said Buffalo Grove coach Zack Crandall. "Ben Goldberg did really well on parallel bars, still rings, and vault, and today was one of his better meets."