McGrady goes out on top

Special to the Tribune

Given his dominant performance the last two days, you have to wonder if Stevenson senior gymnast Michael McGrady had set his sights a little low even if they seemed lofty at the beginning of the season.

McGrady wanted to lead his team to a state title, finish in the top three in the all-around and qualify for every event final.

Done, done and done—and then some.

On Saturday at Schaumburg, a day after pacing the Patriots to a record-setting performance and a boys gymnastics state title, McGrady captured the all-around title with a 56.3. He not only qualified for all six event finals, he tied for first in the vault and took second in the pommel horse.

"I never make goals that are too hard or too low—I want to make ones that will push me enough to accomplish what I want," said McGrady, who on Friday contributed 55.6 points to Stevenson's record-setting 167.1 score. "It is amazing that I accomplished it all. Team-wise, I thought we had a good chance of winning state.

"Individually, I was shocked last year when I got fifth [in the all-around]. I never imagined winning. Four years ago, I never would have thought I would be the state champion."

Elk Grove freshman Nick Persino finished second in the all-around, earning a 55.5, and Glenbrook North sophomore Michael Boyer took third with a 55.2.

Kennedy freshman Alex Kadar finished fifth with a 55.1 despite posting impressive 9.8s in the preliminaries of both the floor exercise and still rings. Kadar posted a 7.6 on the pommel horse, costing him a shot at the title.

In the event finals, the good times continued to roll for Stevenson. Senior Nicholas Stavros won the pommel horse and still rings competitions and he shared first place for parallel bars with Persino, who also won high bar.

"This is a great night," Stavros said. "It couldn't have gotten any better than tonight for my senior year."

Stevenson sophomore Patrick McCall tied McGrady for first place in vault.

McGrady was the only gymnast to advance to all of the event finals.

"When Michael puts his mind to something, he doesn't stop until he gets it," said Patriots coach Dexter Victoria.

For McGrady, the next goal is having success as a member of the Illinois team that will compete in the national high school gymnastics meet next weekend in Las Vegas. It will be his last meet as a gymnast because he won't compete in the sport in college.

McGrady will next set his sights on earning a degree in business at the University of Texas at Austin. He wants to become a mutual fund money manager.

"I have had some success with goals before, but never success in gymnastics like this," he added. "This took a lot of hard work."

End of an era: Mundelein coach Doug Foerch is leaving the school after this year to take a job as a health and physical education teacher at Deerfield. During this tenure, Mundelein won six state titles, competed in the state meet 13 times, including Friday, and produced four all-around champs.

"It is obviously sad in a way because you look at all the accomplishments of the program and you wish you could keep that going," he said. "But there is another part of my life that has to begin."

Foerch will continue with the sport, because Highland Park, which is in the same district as Deerfield, has appointed him to coach its boys team, which failed to score 100 points in its sectional.

"It is a struggling program, which is maybe perfect for me to come in and try to energize it," Foerch said. "It will take some work, but I see a lot of possibilities."

Honors: The boys gymnastics coaches association selected Fred Dennis as coach of the year, a day after his Addison Trail team finished second in the state meet. Hoffman Estates' Jared Erlenbaugh was named senior of the year.

Copyright © 2018, CT Now