Boys Gymnastics: Central, North both in rebuilding mode
BY CHRIS WALKER For Sun-Times Media March 6, 2013 11:38AM
Naperville North's Evan Todd is one of three captains this season for the Huskies, along with Mac Madigan and Akshay Harisparad. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 9, 2013 10:59AM
Unlike girls gymnasts, who enter high school with many years of experience, many freshman boys have never competed in a gymnastics meet.
While that makes it difficult to swiftly put together a big team score, it allows individuals to personally challenge themselves while continually improving. In doing so, one’s own success can only help the team’s overall standing.
Naperville Central and Naperville North aren’t expected to be among the state’s elite teams this spring, but both teams have plenty of reasons to be excited about their seasons.
“We’re really just hoping that people are happy with what they learn skills-wise,” Huskies senior all-arounder Evan Todd said. “We’re not too concerned with how we do overall, but just want to be a team, enjoy the sport and have fun.”
Billy Suta was the face of Naperville North last season, placing fourth in the all-around and taking second on still rings and high bar, as well as fifth on pommel horse. Suta graduated, though, and the Huskies don’t have anyone to replace him, plus they’re starting the season with a handful of injuries.
Reed Kolany is out indefinitely while Tommy Hodges still has at least five weeks to go before he’s cleared from a stress fracture in his back. Senior Mac Madigan isn’t completely sidelined, but a shoulder injury has eliminated still rings and parallel bars from his workload.
“Last season Billy was really good, but the team wasn’t that great,” Madigan said. “It’s going to be a big change with him gone and we’re going to have to try to fill in the gaps.”
Madigan, Todd and Akshay Harisparad will captain this season’s Huskies.
“It’s exciting because we have a lot of potential, but even more so because we’re creating a team of not just great gymnasts, but great guys,” Harisparad said. “We’re doing a lot of conditioning and stuff together so it’s not just individuals, but putting together what a team should be.”
Sophomores Brandon Louise and Tom Peterson, as well as freshman Joel Johnson, also will also look to provide key scores for the Huskies.
On the other side of town, the Redhawks are hopeful that the combination of junior all-arounder Dom Delgrosso, freshman Ryan Durkin and several experienced specialists will deliver success.
“Coach (Glen Reimers) is saying we need to pick up where we left off last year, which was 130-something,” Delgrosso said. “Hopefully we can do that and progressively move up and see how far that can take us.”
Delgrosso knew Durkin through club training in the off-season and informed him of his positive with the high school circuit.
“He asked a lot of questions about it while we were in club,” Delgrosso said. “I don’t know if he’ll come back after this year, but we’re both really excited about this year.”
The Delgrosso-Durkin tandem is expected to produce all-around tallies, while a diverse mix will fill the remaining lineup. For the most part, the Redhawks are a young group with sophomores Jordi Heeneman, Keenan Oshiro and Joe Bojek, juniors Dennis Chase and Matt Miltonberger and seniors Robbie Dietz, Pat Dorn and Ryan Geist.
“I feel like we’re a lot better this season with way more talent,” Dorn said. “I believe we can score around 140 as a team, which is quite high, but I think we can achieve that.”
That’s quite a comment coming from Dorn, a kid who four years ago was simply doing back flips in gym class and invited by coach Glen Reimers to join the team.
“My work ethic has changed so much from when I first started,” Dorn said. “I was just doing standing back flips then and now I’m throwing tsuks (type of vault) every day. I’ve definitely gotten a lot stronger and better.”
His fellow Redhawks, as well as the Huskies, hope to do the same.