Boys Gymnastics: Hamilton, Zimmer give Glenbrook South formidable duoSkokie Friday 04.20.12. Glenbrook South's Kevin Hamilton competes on the pommel horse during the John Cress/Tom Sokalski Invitational on Friday, April 20, 2012, at Niles North High School in Skokie. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Glenbrook South junior gymnast Austin Zimmer knows he will have to deal with added pressure next season, when he becomes the team’s go-to performer.
During his previous years in the program, the talented Zimmer took a back seat to first Adam Klosowiak, then to Kevin Hamilton. Klosowiak has graduated, and Hamilton currently is the team’s marquee man.
“I was always behind (Klosowiak and Hamilton), and it’s nice not to have the pressure of being No. 1,” Zimmer said. “When it comes to it, I hope I can step up. Next year is my year.”
While 2013 might be when Zimmer steps into the spotlight, the gymnast has an uber-important role to play for the Titans in the coming weeks. Though Hamilton may grab the headlines, he forms a formidable duo with Zimmer on a team with legitimate aspirations of returning trip to the IHSA state meet, May 11-12 at Lincoln-Way East.
One of the main reasons for the team’s success is that both gymnasts have elevated their performances to fit their roles in the lineup. Hamilton now scores like a No. 1, and Zimmer like a No. 2.
“Austin has done an unbelievable job this year, and really improved a lot of his weak areas,” said first-year Glenbrook South head coach Brandon Tucker. “There were a few events he was struggling with last year when he was our third score. But he’s really picked those events up. His p-bar is unbelievable, and he’s cleaned up floor and high bar. He’s gone from an all-around in the mid to low 40s to one in the high 40s. He’s made some huge gains.”
In fact, Tucker labels Zimmer one of the best p-bar performers in the state.
With all-arounders Hamilton and Zimmer performing near their best, the key to the Titans’ success in the coming weeks will be the third scores in each event. That means a lot of pressure will fall on the shoulders of team members such as sophomore Riley Theriault, and juniors Trace Powers, Av Kahane and Emilio Isasi.
“Kevin and Austin are right where we need them to be at this point in the season,” Tucker said following Friday’s John Cress Invite at Niles North. “Hopefully, we can have them peaking at state. We’re trying to focus on that third score. We really need to bring up that third score on every event, and that’s where we’re going to find our biggest gains as a team.”
During Friday’s 12-team Cress Invite, the Titans scored 144.575 points and were edged out for the title by rival Glenbrook North (146.5).
Hamilton won all-around (53.6), was tops on high bar (8.5), second on rings (8.8), second on pommel horse (9.0), third on vault (9.25), fourth on parallel bars (8.8) and fifth on floor exercise (9.25).
Zimmer was fourth in all-around (49.65). He won p-bars (9.4), and was fourth on floor (9.3), fifth on vault (9.15), sixth on high bar (7.1), eighth on horse (7.2) and 12th on rings (7.5).
Theriault placed 11th on floor (8.625), 13th on vault (8.7) and 14th on high bar (5.7). Kahane finished 15th on rings (6.8) and 18th on p-bars (6.8), and Isasi finished 17th on floor (8.1).
The Titans will compete in the CSL meet at Niles West, beginning at 6 p.m. today (Thursday). Glenbrook North enters the league meet in first place, based on regular-season results.
While Tucker said he’d like to see his team overtake its rival, the coach admitted that he is focused on seeing his team reach its peak at the following week’s Downers Grove North Sectional.
“I think we want to have our best meet of the year at sectionals,” Tucker said. “We want to improve (at conference) and then make some minor adjustments, because we really want to have our big routines at Downers Grove North (on May 4).”