Red Devils rev up for spring seasons

Central boys gymnastics team, boys and girls water polo programs back in action

The Red Devil boys gymnastics team, and boys and girls water polo squads are already into their regular season schedules, with postseason hopes on the horizon.

This is the second in a four-part series of spring previews.

Next up: girls badminton, girls soccer and boys tennis.

Boys gymnastics

First meet: March 4 vs. Wanner Invite (V placed 2nd with 133.65 points)

Last season: 2nd in sectional, 7th at state

Head coach: CJ Johnson

Years as head coach: 5

Number of varsity members: 9

Team strengths: They're putting in their time working on their tricks, and they're learning their skills. They get their job done every day - you give them an assignment and they do it. Doing the little drills has grown into the big skills we want them to do.

Areas for growth: We're very shallow as a team. We have one senior and three juniors, and the rest are underclassmen. We just have make sure to direct them and make sure they stay focused on the task at hand. They've really been working and working to get better.

Who to watch: Freshman Elias Argyris is a natural gymnast and just led the team with fifth in the all-around at the LT Invite. Senior Grant Balsys, our only senior, is a transfer from Hinsdale South and qualified for state in vault and parallel bars last year. Sophomore Kyle Ashby has put on a lot of muscle mass and he's doing a nice job for us. Junior Nikolas Theotikos is very into taking direction and asking what else we want him to do. He's a natural on the pommel horse, just nice to watch. Junior Marc Cihlar gives us good veteran experience.

Outlook: It would be a big disappointment if we're not in the top eight at state - and we could be higher.

Boys water polo

First match: March 11 @ Bradley-Bourbonnais Invite (V went 1-3)

Last season: 7-19-1, lost in sectional quarterfinal

Head coach: Christy Brodell

Years as head coach: 9

Number of varsity members: 9

Team strengths: We've seen huge growth from our returning players. The boys are super dedicated and responsive. During our opening invite, from the first game we just kept improving our play. That's encouraging for the first time out, and the first time that a lot of the boys have played a varsity competition. The showed good understanding and good game awareness.

Areas for growth: We have only three returning players from last year and a lot of new kids. I hope that we strengthen our ability to work together to make a better defense. I think that's going to be key for us to win this year. And also being confident in our offense and working to not just rely on one person to carry the team but to involve the whole unit.

Who to watch: Junior Yaseen Halabi will be strong for us. Senior Holden Satre and our senior goalie Millan Whittier provide varsity experience. Sophomore Frankie Adamo is super competitive and really understands the game and wants to bring home wins. Freshman Jack Driscoll will also be key.

Outlook: We're a very young team in comparison to prior years. A lot of them played in the offseason and worked on their fundamentals. I just hope the experience gives them a better understanding and confidence in the water. Our conference and sectional are really tough. Hopefully over the course of the year we can bring home some good wins.

Girls water polo

First match: March 6 @ Glenbrook North

(V won 13-3)

Last season: 13-13, lost in sectional quarterfinal

Head coach: Chris Ortiz

Years as head coach: 10

Number of varsity members: 12

Team strengths: The girls are showing a lot of confidence and have been coming together really well these first two weeks, playing as a team and recognizing each other's strengths and putting themselves in good positions to score goals and playing really good defense. I think we'll be able to match up with everyone and make it a competitive game. Having the eight-lane all-deep pool in the new aquatic center gives us good practice treading water and really helps on the conditioning end.

Areas for growth: Just the fundamentals, like being able to make a safe pass and put the ball where it should be. We've had some really good quarters, and we need to string those quarters together into a full game performance. It's not always easy, but it gives you confidence when you see you can do it.

Who to watch: Seniors Tessa Barber, Grace Van Houtte, Grace Stouffer and Abby McMillin - the four of them are going to be our leaders and working to help communications within the team. Also junior Christy Boggs will be a big contributor. There are couple juniors and sophomores who will help us. We have a good mix there.

Outlook: To have a competitive season and represent ourselves and the school to the best of our abilities. We want to play like Red Devils and understand what it means to wear the red and white. That's something that's an asset for us, especially when we're hosting tournaments.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean