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Boys gymnastics takes second in state

Lion barely miss out on first, settle for second

Luke Lusson, Reporter

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After losing its dual meet to Glenbard West by eight points on April 4, the boys gymnastics team made it one of its goals to beat the Hilltoppers by the end of the season. The team nearly accomplished that feat at the state meet on April 12 at Hinsdale Central, where it took second place and trailed the state-champion Hilltoppers by a much slimmer margin than before, only two tenths of a point.

“At the start of the season, it was well known that Glenbard West was going to be the team to beat,” Head Coach Sam Zeman said. “We knew we had a chance to catch them but it would take a lot of hard work, discipline and commitment.”

The difference in scores between first and second place marked the narrowest margin of victory in the history of the IHSA gymnastics state meet. The Hilltoppers finished with 160.95 total points, whereas the Lions ended the day with 160.75 points. In the race for second and third place, the story was much the same. LT barely outlasted Deerfield for second place, who finished with 160.40 total points.

Despite missing out on what would have been the program’s first ever state title, the LT team still left Hinsdale Central proud. Its second place finish at the state meet was the best in program history.

“I think the whole team did amazing [at the state meet],” all-around competitor Nick Perez ’18 said. “They all worked very hard to make sure we got to where we did.”

Following the team competition on Friday, April 12, five LT gymnasts placed in the individual finals the next day. Those gymnasts were Perez, Alex Janicki ’17, Finn Dowling ’18, Luke Szczesniak ’18 and Sam Dillon ’18.

“I know I could have done better at that meet,” Janicki said. “That wasn’t my best. But, on the overall spectrum I’m impressed with my performances and so was my coach.”

In terms of next season, the LT coaches and team members are filled with confidence following their strong state performance. Not only that, but the team will lose only three seniors: Janicki, Matt Hurd and Danilo Devulsky. Janicki was very impressed with the younger gymnasts’ performances all year, specifically at the state meet.

“I give lots of credit to them [the younger gymnasts] because they are so young and the intensity of the state meet is so high,” Janicki said. “The years to come will continue to get better.”

Coach Zeman and the team are determined to build on this season’s success and look to improve in the coming years, especially considering the array of young talent the team possesses.

“Winning second and coming so close to first means one thing to our team – we have unfinished business,” Zeman said. “I’m proud of all they [the seniors] accomplished in their gymnastics career. Now, it’s about getting ready for next year.”

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Boys gymnastics takes second in state