Boys gymnastics: Libertyville continues impressive start to seasonf
After starting off the 2019 boys gymnastics season with an impressive 151.7 score last week, visiting Libertyville wanted to keep its momentum going Wednesday night at Stevenson.
And while the Wildcats were unable to surpass their season-opening mark against the host Patriots and Mundelein, they still soared to an impressive 149.8 to 99.2 Independent Conference victory in a double-dual meet.
Stevenson did post a 1-1 record in the meet as the Pats toppled the short-handed Mustangs (0-2) as Mundelein was unable to field a complete squad at the varsity level due to injuries and sickness.
Libertyville (3-0, 2-0) was led by the senior duo of Matthew Richardson (53.1 points), who won the all-around competition with an 8.85 average, and teammate Max Faber (50.7 points), who placed second overall with an 8.45 average.
"Overall we did all right. There were some simple mistakes, and Tyler (Kukla) had an off meet going 0-for-5," said Libertyville coach Josh Cimo, whose team scored 26.9 points on vault, and 26.5 points on still rings. "I think we started off strong, but we didn't hit any event as a team, and we had to count falls on every event."
First-year high school gymnast Richardson joining the Libertyville program has already given the Wildcats' team scoring a huge boost in the early stages of the new campaign. And Libertyville was already looking at a pretty promising season after almost reaching the Elite Eight meet last spring.
"I'm just really happy that everybody is hitting their routines and getting through their sets," said Richardson, who is a club gymnast that was out due to injury in 2018. "We're trying to get everyone to hit the three routines on every event, and we're trying to get to state this year."
After placing fifth in the state last year in its 22nd Elite Eight appearance in school history, Mundelein coach Jesse Piland said that his inexperienced team will be facing a rebuilding situation this season.
"We're rebuilding, everybody is going to improve individually day by day, and we will try to build our numbers up and teach gymnastics every day," said Piland, whose team lost three key seniors to graduation. "We're going through some growing pains right now, they're all really good guys, and they deserve our attention and our effort."
Richardson took home first place on floor exercise, vault, and high bar with identical 9.3 scores while adding a first-place 8.4 on pommel horse.
Faber (19th in state all-around in 2018) was the individual champ on still rings (9.4), and parallel bars (8.8).
"I'm still happy overall, there's still a lot of promise for the rest of the season," added Cimo, whose team beat Glenbrook North last week. "And this gives us the opportunity to see what we need to improve on and develop."
Kukla placed second on still rings with an 8.7 while sophomore teammate Robert Cartwright (6.6) took runner-up honors on pommel horse.
Stevenson freshman Jack White and Kukla (8.1) tied for third place on floor exercise. Kukla also placed third on vault (8.6), p-bars (7.8), and high bar (6.2).
"I was really impressed with how well they came out in the first meet, and we literally didn't have a home (to practice) with Gymspot closing," said Stevenson coach Joe Rogalski. "They really stepped up and performed, and they really showed a lot of grit, especially how the new guys stepped up in a week."