Boys gymnastics: Lark Park wins own sectional crown
Lake Park didn't have the acrobatic services of Martavious Owten during Tuesday's Lake Park boys gymnastics sectional, but the Lancers still put on quite a show on floor as well as the other five events as they dominated to earn a berth in next weekend's IHSA state finals.
Sophomore Karl Vachlin led the way for the sectional champions, winning floor with a 9.45 as well as four other events en route to capturing the all-around title with a 54.5. With 155.95 points, the Lancers finished comfortably ahead of runner-up Wheaton co-op's 148.1.
"We're ready," Vachlin said. "The team final is kind of my goal. The individual stuff is fun, but when you're with a team it's so much better. We've got to stay healthy and keep working hard. We hope to win state."
The Lancers hope to have Owten return as a specialist next week. He adds even more scoring and excitement to the floor crew of Vachlin, junior Ryan Czech (9.25) and sophomore Luca Marzullo (9.05), who finished 1-2-3. Freshman Sergio Hernandez tied Wheaton co-op freshman Jack Ongstad (8.85) for fifth on floor while another Lake Park freshman, Bryce Mensik (8.4), was seventh.
"We've got a lot of good guys on floor and we make them better in practice," Vachlin said. "What you do in practice is what you do in meets and that's exactly what we did."
The power of repetition has the Lancers thriving.
"Our floor routines are nice and most of us have big tricks that get high tenths," Czech said. "I think we all start at 10.0 which helps a lot. And if we stick our landing we don't get those nice little niche points off, we keep all of them."
And as their scores continues climb, their joy increases along with the hunger for a state trophy.
"We're having a lot of fun with a lot of guys back and things basically back to normal," Marzullo said. "We're having fun and we're challenging each other for better spots in the lineup basically."
Czech produced several big scores for the Lancers to take third in the all-around (51.95). Mensik also placed third on high bar (8.45) and parallel bars (8.85).
Wheaton co-op picked the right time to peak and it remains alive for a potential at-large team qualifier to state, but will have to sit and wait until Saturday to find out.
"We had our best meet of the year," Wheaton co-op coach Greg Gebhardt, "Guys performed outstanding tonight. Probably everything that could go right, went right, and we competed a lot of young guys tonight. It's been fun. These guys really bring it everyday."
Ongstad took second in the all-around (52.5) to lead Wheaton. He also placed second on parallel bars (9.05), pommel horse (9.1) and vault (9.1) and was fourth on still rings (8.0) and high bar (8.4).
"We've been drilling everything at least five routines on every event every single day," Ongstad said. "It's second nature at this point. I feel like it's all paying off. Everyone put in the work and we all needed what we need to do."
Freshman Patrick Malone and sophomore Evan Johnson tied for fifth (8.5) on vault for the co-op. Malone was also seventh (7.75) on high bar and scored a 48.95 in the all-around. Senior Eduardo Ruiz was seventh on both still rings (7.55) and parallel bars (8.3).
Glenbard North junior Dan Housour took fifth in the all-around (50.45) to help the Panthers place fourth with a 128.45.
Sophomore Thor Mace took fourth in the all-around (50.85) to lead Stevenson to third place with a 137.55.
"I did better than my other meets, but maybe not the best," Mace said. "I really liked my high bar, it was clean, and my p-bars, that was the best I've done all year."
Elk Grove Village took fifth with a 117.5 and was followed by Schaumburg (115.05), Conant (114.54) and Rolling Meadows (97.05).
Cary-Grove freshman Alexander Riley won the vault (9.2). Riley was also sixth in the all-around (49.15).