HINSDALE – York boys gymnasts Kelvin Stevens Jr. and John Gill took a big step as juniors May 13 by qualifying for the individual state meet finals on still rings.
They and the Dukes have even bigger plans next season.
“I’m really motivated to come back with even more drive than I had this year,” Stevens Jr. said.
Stevens Jr. was sixth (8.95) and Gill ninth (8.8) among 11 rings finalists. Stevens Jr. was just .05 points from fifth place and the last all-state medal in the meet at Hinsdale Central.
“I’d say hands down it was one of the best routines so far,” Stevens Jr. said. “I really focused on cleaning up the routine and getting more consistent with the landings and the holds.”
Gill also excelled after tying for 16th on rings in 2016 (8.6). He shared the second-highest preliminary score (9.25) with two others.
“During preliminaries, it went pretty well. During finals, I felt I could have done better,” Gill said. “There were some mistakes in my routine, but overall I had a lot of fun being able to participate in the finals.”
Improvement became the operative word for the Dukes this season.
Also qualifying for state individually were junior Jake Anderson and freshmen Charlie Cripe and Dominic Milazzo. Stevens Jr. and Cripe tied for 21st on high bar (8.15).
The Dukes posted the 10th-highest sectional score (149.50) and only missed the at-large cut for the eight-team state meet by 1.75 points. York’s only seniors in the lineup were horse specialists D’Angelo Williams and Anthony Martin, so the Dukes could be a team to contend with next season.
“I know next year we’ll definitely be a 150-plus [points] team. That’s our goal, state,” first-year York coach Nick Criel said. “[For Stevens Jr. and Gill] this was their first time in finals and it’s a lot to take in. Next year they’ll definitely be more ready for it.”
Seniors took first, second and tied for seventh on rings, with Palatine senior Prakash Nigam winning rings with a 9.35. Nigam also won floor exercise, vault and parallel bars.
“Now I know where I stand. I’m going to come back next year and hopefully be able to win it all,” Gill said. “I’m sure next year we’ll definitely qualify for [state as a] team.”
Marc Le made the parallel bars event finals and placed seventh with a 9.0 score.
The junior was also an all-around state qualifier. He finished 12th with a 51.8 score.