Boys gymnastics: Libertyville's Richardson shines at Bob Bohl Invitational
The first big meet after spring break turned out to be a great one Friday night as 17 boys gymnastics teams met at the Bob Bohl Invitational in Mundelein.
Glenbrook North came on strong in the end to capture the championship with 159.45 points while a clutch performance on parallel bars to close out the meet carried Niles West to second place over Libertyville by a narrow 158.96 to 157.22 margin.
Fourth place Deerfield was another high-scoring squad with 155.15 points as the Warriors soared past Schaumburg's strong fifth-place effort with 151.6 points. Rolling Meadows placed sixth with 146.9 points followed by Wheaton co-op (145.95) in seventh.
Libertyville senior Matthew Richardson scored a career-high 55.5 points (9.25 average) to win the all-around competition over Deerfield's Grant Baucom (54.5)
"I hit everything except for parallel bars, so if I hit parallel bars it will be an even higher score," said Richardson, who is competing in his first and only season of high school gymnastics. "We were missing two guys on pommel horse, and that will get us at least three more points. Other than parallel bars and still rings everything else is not so nerve-wracking for the team."
Libertyville coach Josh Cimo was very happy with his team's season-high score as Libertyville senior Max Faber (52.35 points) placed eighth overall for the Wildcats.
"We were missing two key pommel horse guys that cost us about three to four points, but on everything else the guys did a great job," said Cimo, whose team scored 28.1 points on floor exercise. "Matthew (Richardson) had the meet of his life tonight, he got a 9.7 on vault, and he's been sticking all of his landings."
Rolling Meadows was led by Ben Kowalski (54.1) in third place overall followed by Wheaton co-op's Cade Houlihan (52.9) in fifth, and Schaumburg's Oscar Kulesza (52.75) in sixth. Mundelein's Will Ferro (51.15) placed ninth as the short-handed Mustangs only competitor while Hoffman Estates' Alex Collier (49.38) placed 11th.
"They did a nice job, we had a couple of trip-ups here and there, but they're cleaning things up," said Schaumburg coach Erik Bostrom. "He (Kulesza) hit his events, the boys are pushing each other in practice, and they're motivated to catch a few teams who are ahead of us."
After surpassing the 150-point plateau recently, Rolling Meadows coach Mike Costa is very optimistic that his team will continue to improve when everyone is back and at 100 percent strength.
"We didn't look good Tuesday (at Conant), but we regrouped Wednesday and Thursday and they were much better tonight," Costa said. "Ben (Kowalski) is about 70 percent right now. He broke his hand in November and he's still a little behind the eight-ball with his strength and conditioning."
After placing fourth in the state by only four-tenths of a point last year, Wheaton co-op had its season-high score Friday night.
"I just think being more consistent helped us. We have a lot of inexperienced guys, and they're starting to figure it out in meets," said Wheaton co-op coach Greg Gebhardt. "He (Houlihan) had a really good meet tonight, he hit 6-for-6, and it was just nice to see him have a really good meet."
Richardson was the champion on vault (9.7), and high bar (9.5) while Schaumburg's Brandon Nyborg (9.5) took first place on still rings. Kulesza (9.7) won parallel bars while Libertyville's Tyler Kukla (9.2), Kowalski, and Kulesza tied for second place on high bar.
Faber (9.4) also tied for second on vault while Richardson (9.6) placed third on floor exercise. Faber added a fourth-place 9.1 on still rings.