Mundelein chalks up pair of wins at Libertyville
Trailing 114 to 110 after five events, it wasn't looking good for the Mundelein boys gymnastics team Wednesday night when the Mustangs visited Libertyville in an Independent Conference double-dual meet.
But Mundelein finishing on vault, to high bar for the Wildcats, made a huge difference, as the Mustangs pulled out an exciting 135.2 to 134.0 victory over Libertyville in the pressure-packed meet. Stevenson struggled on pommel horse and high bar on its way to 105.6 points in the Patriots' 2020 season-opening meet.
Libertyville junior Robert Cartwright rolled to the all-around championship with 49.7 points (8.28 average). But the Wildcats (1-1) didn't have quite enough depth in the end to overcome Mundelein's all-around duo of freshman Holden Allsbury (47.1 points, 7.85 average) in second place and junior transfer student Austin Knight (44.5 points) in third place.
Both Mundelein and Libertyville saw their team scores jump up dramatically from their first meets last week. The Mustangs improved 10 points.
"We made some good progress from last meet as far as how we executed tonight and it was nice to get the win, but we also have a long way to go," said Mundelein coach Jesse Piland, whose team scored 25.4 points on vault to 19.9 points for Libertyville on high bar to end the meet. "Kyle Massel (fourth in all-around) had a good high bar routine, and if he hits he could be our top guy this season."
The Wildcats were coming off a 126-plus score in their season opener last week, and they got great support Wednesday from Andrew Richardson (fifth in the all-around) and teammate Keane Boom (sixth).
"Andrew Richardson did not compete in our first meet, but Grady (Georgia) didn't compete on floor or vault for us tonight," said Libertyville coach Josh Cimo, whose team lost numerous key gymnasts to graduation from his 2019 IHSA state-title team. "We keep making small improvements. This team has a great attitude, and we'll keep breaking it down and focusing on different things."
Cartwright took first place on vault (8.8), floor (8.7) and pommel horse (8.2).
"It was 100 percent better than last week," Cartwright said. "I was pretty happy with it, and I think that was my best pommel horse routine. We need to hit routines and landings overall, and if we can hit vault we might be able to make state."
Mundelein's Johnny Anno placed seventh in the all-around, followed by Stevenson's Daksh Guard in eighth.
"For our first meet I thought still rings and floor went pretty well for us," Stevenson coach Joe Rogalski said. "I really like this group of guys. We have a lot of positive energy and a lot of hard workers, so I think we'll make a lot of progress this year."
Allsbury and Knight (8.5) tied for first on still rings, while Massel and Knight (8.3) tied for first on parallel bars. Allsbury (7.8) edged Cartwright (7.7) for first place on high bar.
"Last year was definitely a rebuilding year in all aspects," Piland said. "And this year we have some new guys in the program and we're looking forward to the future."