[Karen Naess for Shaw Media]
“At first, I was like, ‘I’m going to be super nervous waiting for everyone else,’ ” O’Malley said. “It wasn’t a negative, but it was certainly nerve-wracking waiting, watching everyone vault.”
O’Malley started out tight, gradually relaxed and then was speechless. His 9.5 captured the state championship by .05.
“I’m still kind of in shock. It hasn’t really hit me that I won. I’m so grateful for all of the support and help my coaches and teammates have given me,” O’Malley said. “I made finals and I was happy with that. I love vault, running as fast as I can and just jumping off the springboard. It was all about just having fun. I didn’t really put any pressure on winning or anything.”
Senior Nick Perez again was a top-five, all-state medalist by tying for second on pommel horse (9.4). In Friday’s team competition, the Lions’ 156.55 earned third behind Deerfield (159.80) and Glenbard West (158.40). Second at state last year to Glenbard West by two tenths of a point, LT achieved trophies in consecutive seasons for the first time. The Lions, whose 158.35 was the second highest sectional score, held off fourth-place Wheaton co-op (156.10) by .45.
“It was another exciting one, like last year,” LT coach Sam Zeman said. “Glenbard West was having a great meet. [Our] guys did well. They hit when they needed to at the end on high bar because Wheaton was right there.”