Naperville North boys gymnastics opens the 2024 season with a tri-meet victory

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Naperville North boys gymnastics opens the 2024 season hosting a tri-meet against Stevenson and Libertyville. The Huskies are coming off an eighth-place finish at last year’s state meet, while the Stevenson Patriots placed fifth. Jack Halama and Matas Budreika are the top returners for North, while Thor Mace leads the way for Stevenson. This highlight is sponsored by BMO

Naperville North’s Stas Kalabayda opens his high school campaign strong

We begin the evening on the floor with Libertyville’s Avery Wells. On the first turn, he shows a double back handspring into a back tuck. Wells does well on the second time around and secures a score of 8.10, Libertyville’s top score of the day.

Thor Mace is now running down the floor for Stevenson and watch this great routine. The Patriot shows off a nice twist and some elegant flow to the performance. He does another twist, this time from the front, before closing it out with his best for last. Thor records a 9.3 on the floor, finishing in second.

We talked about North’s key returners, but now we’ll see freshman Stas Kalabayda perform his first varsity routine. The Huskie is locked in on the first pass and doesn’t seem fazed. He then does a little front twist before warming up for the finish. The landing is near perfect on the final flip, and Kalabayda records a 9.60, the highest score from any event on the night.

We move to the Pommel Horse but will stay with Kalabayda. Be ready to see more of him throughout the night, and the year for the Huskies. He starts with some nice movement around the apparatus and rises to a handstand before exiting. Kalabayda scores a 9.5, 1 point better than anyone else on the Pommel Horse.

Stevenson gymnastics keeps it close on the Rings and Vault

On the Still Rings is Stevenson’s Andrew Otgonbaatar who shows off his strength by holding his position. He works to hold the handstand twice before dismounting and does just enough to stick the landing. Otgonbaatar scores an 8.30 on the rings, finishing in second place behind Kalabayda at 9.10.

We’ll run over to the vault with Naperville North’s Matas Budreika. His handspring into a back twisting position is good for third place at 8.40.

Next up is Stevenson’s Finlay Oyston. He does a front-hand spring into a back pike and sticks the landing with a little grimace. His score of 8.70 is second best behind Kalabayda at 8.90.

Naperville North gymnastics opens the 2024 season with a win

Our second to last event is the Parallel bars, where we see two State qualifiers from a season ago. First up is Jack Halama who gets up top and holds his position. After a rotation, Halama holds the handspring and flips off for the dismount. Halama scores an 8.30.

In second place is Thor from Stevenson who starts the routine with a solid handstand position. He then does well to work around the bars before rotating around and preparing for the dismount. His score of 9.10 is just behind Kalabayda at 9.20.

Closing the night with the Huskie freshman on the Horizontal bar. Kalabayda stays composed throughout the entire routine, en route to another first-place finish and a score of 9.0. He wins every event, securing the top all-around score by almost four points. Naperville North gets their first team victory of 2024 by 1.5 points over Stevenson, and Libertyville takes third.

For more prep sports highlights, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!