Boys gymnastics: Glenbard West's Demeris wins state all-around championship
For the first time since 1967 DuPage County didn't have a team competing in the boys gymnastics state finals.
That didn't stop the area from having a big part in the show. Glenbard West junior Alexander Demeris won the all-around title, edging Libertyville senior Matt Richardson 55.55 to 55.5.
Richardson was part of Libertyville winning its first state title. Glenbard West wasn't in the team competition for the first time since 2013.
"It's amazing," Hilltoppers coach Frank Novakowski said. "Five out of six sticks and, of course, we brought the whole team even though we didn't qualify as a team so there were a lot of people cheering for him."
The biggest screams came after Demeris was awarded a 9.45 on parallel bars, his final event of the competition, and the highest score on parallel bars among the all-around field.
"It was awesome when he stuck his dismount," Novakowski said. "Everyone went nuts when they showed his score because they knew what he needed to win."
Demeris, who placed ninth in the all-around last year, is the fourth gymnast from Glenbard West to win an all-around title. He joins Alex Diab (2012), Josh Levin (1996) and Steve Roskam (1972).
"If I hadn't stuck my routines I wouldn't have won so it's very cool for sure," Demeris said. "This was my best all-around score for the whole season so I put together my best routines when they counted the most."
Knowing that the competition would be stellar, Demeris tried to keep things simple by going out and doing what he does best and see where it put him.
"I wasn't sure how it would play out because looking at the sectional scores, I knew I could've gotten first or fifth," he said. "I started on high bar, which is one of my favorites to start off on, and I finished on parallel bars, which is a great event for me, so I felt confident throughout."
Neuqua Valley sophomore Michael Baren took sixth with a 54.5. There was a three-way tie for third place at 54.75.
"I'm super thrilled," Baren said. "I was a little shaky on pommel horse, but I came back on still rings and was really strong the rest of the meet. I am just happy to be here since high school is a totally different experience than club. I'm happy to represent my school and proud with how I did today."
While he was the lone Wildcat again, he did have Metea Valley freshman Zachary Taylor and Waubonsie Valley freshman Nagasai Nitta competing alongside him. Taylor tied for 15th with a 52.0 and Nitta was 19th with a 51.3.
"I was proud of both of them," Baren said. "They really pushed through and for both of them, this was just their second meet ever in high school and this is the state meet."
Downers Grove North junior Aaron Heppner was the area's third-highest finisher, taking 13th with a 52.85.
Timothy Christian's Scott Schnurr and Lake Park's Matt Scimeca tied for 23rd with a pair of 50.2s and Wheaton co-op's Cade Houlihan, another junior, scored a 49.55.