Boys Gymnastics: Veteran Moskovits leads young Niles North squad4/21/11 Skokie Niles North's Mendel Moskovits on the still rings at the John Cress Invite at Niles North. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
There are some words that no coach really enjoys using.
“We knew that going into the season we were very young,” said Niles North head coach Rick Meyer. “I hate to use the term rebuilding, but we are kind of in a rebuilding phase right now. We have a bunch of sophomores and juniors on the varsity level, and they’re not ready to be state-qualifying individuals, but they’re on (the right) track.”
Senior Mendel Moskovits is striving to return to the state meet, and his seniority on a team filled with underclassmen is something he takes seriously.
“It actually helps motivate me, especially when I’m about to compete, because I feel a lot more energized to get the team together and motivated,” said Moskovits.
Meyer admits he does not foresee a conference championship this season, but Moskovits predicts good things for the young squad.
“We have a lot of talent, especially with our freshmen,” Moskovits said. “This is a freshmen team … and we’re performing big tricks early on, so I’m excited.”
Niles North (4-3, 2-2 CSL) finished 12th in the 13-team John Burkel Invitational Saturday in Skokie. The Vikings scored 102.6.
Moskovits placed eighth in all-around (36.5), with his best performance coming on rings (7.5) for sixth place.
“I didn’t have a good meet,” Moskovits said. “We were here last week against Niles West, and I think that was one of my best meets. I was throwing some new tricks on floor, and (Saturday) I wasn’t that great, but it’s gotten better towards the end.”
The senior is trying to get back to the state meet, after advancing last year on parallel bars.
“I do expect him to qualify again on parallel bars, but we’re also hoping that he qualifies on high bar and rings as well,” Meyer said. “He even has an outside chance at qualifying for floor. If we can get him qualified for three out of those four events, I think that’s a pretty good goal, and it’s a realistic goal.”
Moskovits still is fine-tuning his routines, but expects to be ready to make a run in the postseason.
“I’m good where I need to be with tricks, but I need to keep practicing on my routines,” Moskovits said. “But I think I’m set where I need to be, requirement-wise.”
Junior Shawn Deguzman placed 16th on still rings (6.1) and 33rd on floor exercise (7.0). Junior Antonio Cacho finished 25th (5.4) on floor. Junior Dhwal Gheewala took 18th on pommel horse (6.1).