Wildcats excel in Men’s Regional Gymnastics Championship

By Gabe Mielke ’16

During the last weekend of Easter Break, from Friday, April 10 until Sunday, April 12, right before we all came back to school, two fellow Wildcats competed in the USA Men’s Gymnastics Regional Championship. Junior Tim O’Neil competed in Level 10, and Freshman Daniel Matheis competed in Level 9.

Ohio is part of Region 5, one of the ten regions in USA gymnastics. It consists of Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. In order to qualify for Regionals the gymnasts had to make the qualification score in earlier competitions. Those who achieved a high enough score moved on to the Regional Championship in Westfield, IN, a suburb of Indianapolis.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 8.05.38 AM
Daniel Matheis ’18 on the parallel bars

Men’s gymnastics consists of six events: the floor routine, the pommel horse, the rings, the parallel bars, vault, and the horizontal bar. Each gymnast receives a score and ranking in each event, as well as an overall ranking called the All Around ranking based on the entirety of the single event scores.

Danny has been doing gymnastics since he was five years-old, becoming progressively more competitive as he has grown older. He practices five days a week, for a total of sixteen hours a week, at Above the Barre (formerly Thome Ohio Gymnastics) in Berea. He was coached through the preparation for Regionals and most of his gymnastics career by Jeff Vacha, a 2000 graduate of Saint Ignatius.

In terms of performance, both of the Wildcat gymnasts excelled. They each won the distinction of being First Team All-American Academics. In addition, their combined performance won Saint Ignatius the “school” rather than individual state championship.

Tim felt that he could have probably had a better performance, saying, “My performance overall was decent, a little shaky here and there. I’m still trying to get back to full consistency after having a back injury earlier in the season.”

Regardless of the injury, Tim placed 17th All Around out of 90 other gymnasts in his division and qualified to go to Nationals in May.

Danny placed 8th on the parallel bars and 13th All Around out of a total group of ninety-two other gymnasts; he qualified for Nationals as well.

The USA Gymnastics 2015 Men’s Junior Olympic National Championship is May 6 to May 10 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Both Tim and Danny will compete on one of the days, and if they do well enough they’ll compete again in the National Finals. They both hope to perform to the best of their ability.

Danny says, “I just want to have fun and do as well as I can.”