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High school boys gymnastics: State meet one to remember for Downers Grove South's Herion brothers

HINSDALE – Longer boys gymnastics meets usually lead to increased back pain for Downers Grove South freshman Beau Herion.

The delays during the individual event state finals at Hinsdale Central on May 13 only enhanced the program’s greatest performances.

Herion was second on high bar (9.2), just .05 from first, and tied for second on parallel bars (9.1) after taking fourth in all-around (54.10) May 12 on the first day of the state meet at Hinsdale Central.

“I’d start OK [at meets] and get to the last event and my back was killing me. Not [at state], though,” Herion said. “High bar was the last event so it was just in the back of my mind. I was in the moment.” 

Herion is the Mustangs’ first all-state all-arounder for a top-five finish. He’s also their highest-finishing and first multiple all-stater for individual events.

Herion also shared seventh on still rings (8.9) and eighth on vault (9.0). He was .55 from first in all-around behind two seniors. 

“Being a freshman and up there at that level where juniors and seniors are at, that’s pretty crazy,” Herion said.

In his fourth state meet, senior Brock Herion, older brother to Beau, reached his first state finals on vault (14th, 8.4). The brothers qualified in all-around and all six events. Freshman Jacob Klamer qualified for state on high bar.

“[Beau] wanted to be here with his brother and compete together one last time – and they both made finals,” Downers South coach Bill Norris said. “I’ve been coaching for 30 some years and these are two of the best kids all around – athlete, personality, teammates.”  

The 11th of 13 high bar finalists, Beau took advantage when scores were delayed by judges’ conferences and coaches’ inquiries.

“I’d go over to my mom [Amy] because she always gives me a pep talk,” Beau said. “I was like, ‘I’m doing this for you, mom.’”

Injuring both ankles landing his vault, Brock watched Beau’s high bar routine sitting down.

“I’m still in a lot of pain, but he comes over and I said, ‘Just go win something,’” Brock said. “I’m just happy being here. I’m done. I’m retired. No more pain.”  

“I’m way more proud of my brother than myself because it’s been such a good experience,” Beau said.

Downers Grove North

Seniors Mike Kudelka and Ben Goedert, sophomore Mikael Dukes and freshmen Aaron Heppner all competed at state.

Dukes was 21st on vault (8.95) for the Trojans’ best finish.

Kudelka was 26th on pommel horse (8.0), and Goedert was 44th (7.25) on the same event. Heppner was 43rd on high bar (7.5), 46th on pommel horse (7.15) and 48th on parallel bars (6.9)

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