Boys gymnastics: Hear, hear: Glenbard West's Demeris wins three more state titles
It got so quiet when Alexander Demeris began his parallel bars routine on Saturday night that you could almost hear the Glenbard West record book being shattered.
Demeris put the finishing touches on an incredible two-day performance in Hoffman Estates, winning floor exercise, high bar and parallel bars 24 hours after winning the all-around title on Friday.
The junior now has five individual championships, the most in the celebrated Glenbard West program's history. He also became only the second Hilltopper to win titles in the same event (floor) in consecutive seasons, joining Josh Levin who accomplished the feat on pommel horse in 1995 and 1996.
"I had a little bit of a shaky start on pommel horse and still rings, but I felt it was OK if I didn't get first on them," Demeris said. "I knew I was ending on my strongest events and had floor, and it all went really, really well."
Niles West sophomore Tegshmurun Jamiyankhuu wowed the crowd with his 9.6 on parallel bars, but Demeris, like he did all weekend, one-upped him with a 9.7, joining Timmy Le (2016) as the second parallel bars champion in Glenbard West history.
"I think everyone thought (Jamiyankhuu) was going to get first after his 9.6, which isn't a bad thing, of course," Demeris said. "I don't remember how quiet it got. I don't remember much of it except for when I stuck it and then I knew I had a chance to win it."
His other winning scores included a 9.6 on floor and 9.5 on high bar. He also placed ninth on still rings and 10th on pommel horse.
The Hilltoppers had seven gymnasts qualify for the state preliminaries, but Demeris and senior Len Phuong, who took eighth on still rings, were the only ones to advance to the finals.
Neuqua Valley sophomore Michael Baren advanced to the finals in four events, including a fourth-place finish on high bar with a 9.3 and a third-place tie on pommel horse with a 9.2. He also moved on to the finals on parallel bars and high bar.
"I'm delighted," Baren said. "I came in today exhausted from yesterday and then prelims were amazing. I couldn't have asked for better routines, and once I got to finals I went out and did the best routines I could've done."
Surprisingly, the Wildcats, who don't have a team, matched the Hilltoppers with two qualifiers in the finals as freshman Tyler Clark took sixth on parallel bars with a 9.35.
"I felt like today went really well," Clark said. "I was really proud of my p-bars performance. I had really clean routines both times and stuck my dismount. I felt good with how I did and am looking forward to getting back here and doing this again."
Metea Valley freshman Zachary Taylor's debut appearance at state featured a ninth-place finish on parallel bars with an 8.9.
"I was disappointed with my fall on my dismount because I was hoping for a stick," Taylor said. "But that's OK. This was a lot more fun than club meets so I still had a lot of fun. Everyone here had fun and cheered on their teammates."
Wheaton co-op junior Cade Houlihan would've preferred to be competing with his team like last year, but represented himself well individually, taking seventh on high bar with a 9.1.
"It was definitely a different experience not having teammates," Houlihan said. "So yesterday was a little rough (all-around competition), but today I felt more comfortable. I had a pretty good meet in prelims and making it to finals was a great experience. It's going to benefit me for next year and got me used to this atmosphere."
Altogether, DuPage County had 10 gymnasts advance to the individual finals. That included Naperville North's Michael Hunter Jr., who placed eighth on vault, York's Charlie Cripe who tied for eighth on high bar, Lake Park's Matt Scimeca who was 12th on floor and Timothy Christian's Scotty Schnurr who was 13th on vault.