Byline: John Bumbales Daily Herald Correspondent
Conant officially won the Mid-Suburban West crown Wednesday night in boys gymnastics as the Cougars put the finishing touches on a perfect regular season at Palatine.
Conant (6-0, 5-0) soared to a 146.7-point total to capture a MSL West dual-meet victory over the host Pirates with 134.8.
Prospect (5-3, 4-1) had its best meet of the season with 143.2 points to post an MSL crossover victory against Palatine (4-5, 2- 3).
Conant's Rob Bernas was a dominant force in winning the all- around competition with an 8.22 average while Palatine's Mike Quinn placed second in the all-around with a 7.58 average.
"Our pommel horse hit tonight which was good, and our still rings improved a little bit," said Conant coach Ed Raymond, whose team hit a 142.9 Tuesday night. "We've just got to make the changes we need to make to get ready for sectionals."
Prospect swept the top three places on pommel horse behind Andrew Nordyke (8.3), Dan Adler (8.2), and Joe Aicher (7.8) while Prospect's D.J. Hayden (8.6) and Conant's Kevin Callaghan tied for first place on floor exercise.
Prospect's Mike Schoenbeck won the vault competition with a 9.4 to outdistance teammate Ryan Petty with a second-place 9.0.
"This was our best meet and our vaulting was very good," said Prospect coach Pat Kivland. "Our still rings did very well, and we were in the lead after the first three events of the meet."
Prospect's Alex Chan also posted a first-place score with an 8.5 on still rings while Palatine's Yani Kozachuck won the parallel bars competition with an 8.9.
Petty was the high bar champion with an 8.2 to edge Conant's Rich Montgomery (8.0) in second place. Bernas (8.4) and Prospect's Dave Bacino tied for second on floor.
"Score-wise we didn't improve from last night, but on a couple of tricks we did," said Palatine coach Scott Hagel. "We probably had our best meet all season on parallel bars, but our floor exercise wasn't there tonight."
Prospect's Mike Panek (6.92) placed third in the all-around.
- John Bumbales
In 17 days both of these games could count for a lot more.
But with a screaming crowd and tension in the pool, it is hard to imagine a better atmosphere than Wednesday.
On May 4, if all goes according to the seeding, Fremd and St. Viator will do battle with a sectional title and a trip to the state quarterfinals on the line. On Wedneday at Fremd it was an opportunity to make a statement.
The Fremd boys did by winning 8-5. So too did the St. Viator girls, claiming a 7-4 victory.
Neither game solved a thing.
The St. Viator (9-6) girls looked as if they were going to wrap their game up early, taking a 4-2 lead into the half.
But Fremd (6-3) would have none of it. Motivated by Viator coach Dick Mortensen's comments in which he talked of being relieved to be in the sectional with Fremd, the Vikings, more specifically Kristin Schmitt, rallied.
The junior 2-meter scored back-to-back goals in the first 1:47 of the third quarter to tie the game.
But that would be it for the Vikings as St. Viator junior Sarah Meyerhoff didn't allow anything past her the rest of the way.
Senior Lauren Greco put back a deflection late in the third to give the Lions all the offense they would need.
"I told our girls we were going into a hornets nest, and going in with 22 cans of hornet spray," said Mortensen after hearing of the stir he caused. …