Glenbard West freshman Max Diab living up to expectations

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Glenbard West freshman Max Diab hasn’t been asked to be like his older brother, Alex.

Of course, expectations were still high for Max in his debut season with the Hilltoppers and he’s undeniably achieved great success in helping lead the team into this weekend’s state finals at Hinsdale Central.

“I try not to compare the two and I’ve let Max know that he’s not Alex, he’s Max,” Hilltoppers coach Frank Novakowski said. “As a coach I expect Max to do what Max can do.”

The elder Diab tumbled on the high school gymnastics scene two years ago. Scoring a rare and unforgettable 10 on the high bar during the regular season and then winning the all-around title at state, he helped the Hilltoppers take fourth place in 2012. He’s remained committed to club competition since then, recently winning a national title on pommel horse in the Level 10 Junior Olympics.

“I don’t think about being compared to Alex. I just go out and do the best I can,” Max Diab said. “Were both strong in different ways. Alex is a really confident guy, super clean and always focusing on gymnastics.”

Max Diab scored a 53.2 in the all-around during Saturday’s Glenbard West Sectional. It was the fifth highest all-around scores among the five sectionals.

“If I do the best that I can then my success is going to help the team,” he said. “The attitude of our team is do the best we can and it’ll help the team.”

Diab realizes that whatever individual success he has will certainly help the team climb the leaderboard and that’s important for such an unselfish squad.

“This year a couple of seniors and other guys have dropped a couple events that they’re maybe not the best at, to help the team score,” senior Perry Zumbrook said. “Some of these seniors have been doing an event for four year but have made that sacrifice because it’s right for the team. I gave up my pommel horse because it’s really all about the team this year.”

Zumbrook’s a five-event guy while fellow seniors Tommy Berland, Donny DeStefano, Joey Mandarino, Dominick Sansone and Chandler Sandler each qualified in one event. Sophomore Paul Bonokollie and junior Adam Samuta also will compete in a single event, Max Diab and Eric Samuta are two huge contributors despite being freshmen.

The Hilltoppers are making their 16th state appearance. Their lone state title came in 1996.

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