Senior and former club gymnast Ryan Johnson annually was asked by coach Sam Zeman to consider joining the Lyons Township High School boys gymnastics team.
Before this season, finally Johnson said yes.
“High school gymnastics is a lot more team focused than club,” Johnson said. “Also, being a senior it was my last opportunity to play a sport and be a part of a team at Lyons Township.”
He’s been among the many reasons the Lions once again appear on track to return to the eight-team state meet. At the halfway point March 28, the Lions earned the state’s No. 4 sectional seed and have scored as high as 147.70 points.
In their last two meets, the Lions won 147.60 to 141.40 at Downers Grove North March 14 and were sixth (126.125) at Hinsdale Central’s Neil Krupicka Invitational March 17.
“I tried recruiting him consistently over the last four years and now we are excited to have him as part of our team,” Zeman said. “He learns new skills at an incredible rate.”
At Downers North, juniors Matt Adler (54.60) and Will Taylor (48.10) were second and third in all-around and were top-three finishers in practically every event.
Adler won pommel horse (9.2) and tied for first on parallel bars (9.3). Johnson, who was third on horizontal bar (7.2) and fourth on floor exercise (8.5), all-around Nick Giordano and Ryan Evans also had top-five event finishes.
At the Krupicka Invite, Taylor was fourth on still rings (8.15) and sixth on parallel bars (8.1) in taking 13th in all-around (46.00).
Johnson competed club gymnastics from age 6 to 11 and finished with two years at Level 7. He feels he’s already better than he was back then due mainly to confidence and strength.
While he’s picked up new skills on his first few tries, he definitely feels the results of consistent training.
“Learning new skills and getting excited about it really helps the team out,” Johnson said.
LTHS girls water polo
Senior Evie Reinisch and her Lyons Township girls water polo teammates have a big week ahead.
The Lions (14-3) visit Mother McAuley, usually one of their top sectional opponents, on April 5 and York, which has beaten defending state champion Naperville North, on April 7.
“It really is going to be a good test,” Reinisch said.
The Lions finished fourth at the Fenwick tournament last weekend by beating the host Friars 11-3 on April 1 after earlier beating St. Ignatius 12-5. In pool play on March 31, they beat Whitney Young 12-5 and lost 9-7 to Stevenson, their second loss to the Patriots this season.
With spring break, the Lions had players missing at Fenwick and at their invite March 25, when they lost to Lincoln-Way Central.
“When we have everybody here and we’re on our game, things go really well,” Reinisch said.
Reinisch returns at central defender. She’s splitting time there with sophomore Maya Mladjan, who has grown taller than older senior sister Emilia.
Reinisch feels she is better at fronting players while Mladjan is better being between the attacker and the goal. They defend together or the other player is on the wing.
“We have different strengths in that position,” Reinsich said. “[Mladjan] has really strong legs. I am more of a fighter in there. It depends on the team we’re playing or the player we’re against.”
The Bulldogs (3-3) lost to Bishop McNamara 12-5 on April 3 but won victories over Shepard 10-4 on March 28, Morton 14-2 on March 24 and Addison Trail 12-0 on March 21.
Emily Organ, Lianna Noel, Zoe Levine and Ellie Megall each had two hits against Shepard and Luna Lloyd had three against Addison Trail. Pitchers Abby Krueger and Abby Stevenson earned their first victories against Morton and Addison Trail, respectively.
Lyons Township (3-1) won a West Suburban Conference Silver game over Glenbard West 14-2 in five innings April 3 with an eight-run fifth.
Troy Stukenberg hit two home runs with four runs batted in. Sam Viniard and Jack Falls (4 RBIs) also homered and James Georgelos doubled. Winning pitcher Tucker King allowed six hits.
On March 30, the Lions’ two runs in the top of the seventh pulled out a 13-12 victory at Lincoln-Way Central.
Falls hit a two-run double in the seventh after Michael Mango led off with a walk, Frederick Ragsdale III (3 for 5) reached on a bunt and both advanced on Stukenberg’s sacrifice bunt. Ryan Jackson tripled and doubled with three RBIs.