Boys gymnastics: Downers Grove North triumphs at own sectional

  • OM Patel of Naperville Central competes on the still rings during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022.

      OM Patel of Naperville Central competes on the still rings during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Will Lanciloti of Glenbard West competes in the floor exercise during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022.

      Will Lanciloti of Glenbard West competes in the floor exercise during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Colby Bormann of Downers Grove North competes on the high bar during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022.

      Colby Bormann of Downers Grove North competes on the high bar during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Kaneland's Ethan Yost competes on the pommel horse during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022.

      Kaneland's Ethan Yost competes on the pommel horse during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard East's Julian Reyna competes on the parallel bars during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022.

      Glenbard East's Julian Reyna competes on the parallel bars during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Downers Grove North's Josh Castro competes in the floor exercise during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022.

      Downers Grove North's Josh Castro competes in the floor exercise during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • York's Joseph Qualtier competes on the vault during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022.

      York's Joseph Qualtier competes on the vault during the Downers Grove North boys gymnastics sectional Saturday May 7, 2022. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/7/2022 6:22 PM

Jake Mateja didn't waste any time making new friends this year as a freshman at Downers Grove North.

On Saturday afternoon, Mateja helped his boys gymnastics teammates make plans for next weekend, winning the pommel horse with an 8.4 while helping the squad win the Downers Grove North sectional and qualify for the IHSA state finals at Hoffman Estates, May 13-14.

 

"Going to state with people who may not be able to do gymnastics again, and giving them a second chance to do even better, I feel amazing," he said. "I'm on cloud nine. And winning pommel horse, which is my favorite event, just enhances that."

Sophomore Parker Elisha led the Trojans. He finished third in the all-around with a 48.35 to qualify in the individual state competition next Friday.

Elisha led the winners on floor (8.8), still rings (7.85) and vault (8.85), which he won.

"Vault was an 8 out of 10 of what I feel like I could still do, which is good," he said. "It was a little bit of a rough start on high bar, but we managed to pull through and ended up with the win so overall it was a good meet."

Mateja added to the team total with scores on three events in addition to pommel horse and was fifth in the all-around with a 47.5.

"Pommel has been my favorite for the whole 9 years I've been doing this," he said. "It's an event that takes so much precision, skill and thought into it, yet it takes a lot of strength too. It feels like a mix."

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While Elisha and Mateja led the way, it took a mix of gymnasts for the Trojans to score 142.75, comfortably ahead of York's 136.1.

All told, Downers Grove North's lineup featured 10 competitors, including sophomore Colby Bormann who took third on parallel bars with an 8.45 and added a high bar score. Other big contributions came via freshman Dan Swanson on floor and vault and seniors scores from Frank Miceli on pommel horse and still rings and Josh Castro on floor.

"I've bonded with all of them through this sport," Mateja said. "I've gotten to know their ups and downs and how I can help them and motivate them to keep them in the sport and keep them doing performances like they did today."

Senior Nolan Fazzini led the Dukes, earning an at-large state qualifier in the all-around after finishing in fourth place with a 48.05. He also qualified by taking fifth on still rings (7.85), third on vault (8.75) second on parallel bars (8.75) and first on floor (9) while fighting through a wrist injury.

Juniors Joseph Qualtier and Dennis Sosnovyy will be joining Fazzini in multiple events. Qualtier took second on floor (8.95) and vault (8.8) while Sosnovyy tied for third on still rings (7.9) and placed second on high bar (8.2) while battling through a knee injury.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I was proud of them," Dukes coach Nick Criel said. "It wasn't the ending we were hoping for, but it was OK."

The Dukes were without top-scorer Renny Barnitz who qualified for nationals and completed his high school competition season at the conference meet on April 28.

Srey also won parallel bars (8.85) and high bar (8.7).

"It was a little rough on horse and I fell on my vault, and normally I don't do that," he said. "I felt like I worked pretty hard for this and I cleaned up my high bar, which was pretty clean, parallel bars was clean, floor was clean, a little two mess-ups on horse and vault, but I felt like I had a good practice and have been working towards good things."

The Rams were fourth with 130.1 while Glenbard West was third with 133.6.

Senior Will Lanciloti was sixth in the all-around (46.55) to lead the Hilltoppers. He also took third on floor (8.85) and fifth on parallel bars (8.2) to qualify for state.

David Wuertzer also qualified to state for the Hilltoppers by tying for third on pommel horse (7.6) while fellow senior Ian Jackson matched Lanciloti's 8.55 on vault and those scores earned at-large berths. And to keep the senior celebration going, Rhodel Pidu took sixth on still rings (7.55) which was also good enough for a state berth.

Downers Grove South (122.4), Naperville Central (116.25) and Glenbard South (78.3) wrapped up their respective team seasons. Mustangs senior Spencer Schmidt advanced on floor (8.7) after taking fifth place while fellow senior Michael Figueroa finished eighth in the all-around (43.65).

Kaneland junior Ethan Yost took seventh in the all-around (45.85) and advanced to state after taking third on pommel horse (7.6).

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