Boys varsity gymnastics wins IHSA State Championship


Boys Gymnastics Team poses with State Trophy (Photo courtesy of Bill Stone)

Gabriella Rauf, Reporter

The LT boys gymnastics team competed in the IHSA State Championships at the University of Illinois campus. On May 15, the team finished with a total score of 157.2, 3.05 ahead of the second place team, Niles West High School. This led to their first state championship in the boys gymnastics program, varsity coach Sam Zeman said. 

“What I feel most is an incredible amount of pride for every single person who had a part in this team and our program,” Zeman said. “They all knew we had a special team right from the start, and everyone wanted to play a part.”

The state championships had some of the highest scores of the team’s season. Randal Yonan ‘22 earned 8.95 points on the pommel horse, 8.3 on vault, and 7.8 points for high bar. Shane Kenna ‘22 earned 7.7 points on rings, and Conor Cahill ‘21 also received a score of 7.7 on rings. Will Taylor ‘24 scored 8.5 on floor exercise, and team captain Ben Taylor ‘21, who competed all around, earned 54.4 points total. 

Alec Paras ‘22 competed all around. Also competing were Adam Soto ‘21 on floor exercise, Nick Paulus ‘21 on parallel bars, Roman Hanyuk ‘23 on pommel horse, vault, and high bar, and Ryan Evans ‘24 on still rings.

“As team captain, there were never moments where I had to really push somebody,” Taylor said. “Everyone was super motivated the whole time, and we all just had one goal in mind. It was really great for everyone.” 

Cahill, who had a wrist injury throughout his junior year, had a hard time hitting his routine in meets after not having competed for so long, he said. The state championship was a turnaround for him. 

“By the time we got to state, I still hadn’t hit a set clean enough to get a score I was happy with,” Cahill said. “When I went to complete my routine [at state], all of the skills just hit for me. I finished it feeling good.”

To prepare for the final competition, practice consisted of working on routines for different events and perfecting landings, Taylor said.

“Once I actually started competing, I felt very comfortable, and I didn’t feel unsure about any event,” Paras said. “It was really rewarding to go through all the effort of working hard and seeing it all pay off.” 

At the sectional meet to qualify for state, Matthew Adler ‘24 contributed to the team in five events, Zeman said. Dylan Brunelle’s ‘21 performance on rings also allowed the team to get to state. 

“I believe we started the season more prepared than any other team,” Zeman said. “This gave us a big head start in a season that was cut down to only 10 weeks.”

The team knows exactly how to prepare for future seasons, Paras said. For next year’s season, they will be working hard on improving many events now that many high scoring seniors are graduating.