Steve L. Merena looking forward to represent Elgin

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Elgin senior Steve L. Merena doesn’t get to enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being on a high school gymnastics team.

He also doesn’t get a chance to compete in high school dual meets or any of the storied Saturday invitationals either.

What he does have is a gym to call home as his father, Steve J. Merena is a co-owner of the Midwest Elite Gymnastics Academy (MEGA) of Elgin. He also has sort of a makeshift team this year, as he’s training along with freshman Nolan Williamson, who will also represent Elgin as an individual this spring. Williamson’s father, Bill Williams, is also a co-owner of MEGA.

A third gymnast, Dundee-Crown sophomore Satchel Hudson, also trains at MEGA. He accompanied Merena to state last year, placing 29th in the all-around with a 46.4 and tying for sixth on vault with a 9.1

“The high school system is very friendly and very team-oriented, and the kids are all rooting for each other,” Steve J. Merena said. “It’s a fun system and I know Steve has enjoyed it the last few years.”

He believes Williamson will enjoy it as well.

“He’s a Level 9 and excited to try it out,” Steve J. Merena said. “I think his strongest events are high bar and vault and he might make it through sectionals to state.”

The three gymnasts won’t compete in a high school meet until the state series. For now, they’ll train and participate in club competitions.

“In a sense we’re like three brothers hanging out, because we’ve know each other since first grade,” Hudson said. “It’s going to be so much fun.”

The elder Merena is a two-time still rings champion (1980, 1981) that went on to contribute toward three Big Ten titles at The Ohio State University, including a national championship in 1985.

The younger Merena placed ninth in the all-around last year with a 52.00. He plans on attending Elgin Community College in the fall and perhaps working his way onto the roster at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

“He’s very excited for his last year and his parallel bars have really started to come together,” Steve J. Merena said. “He’s doing the giants on the bars. He had been a little tentative, but is now very aggressive, which is nice to see.”

The hope is that aggressiveness can allow him to finish among the state’s most elite gymnasts once May arrives.

“All my events are looking pretty good right now,” Steve L. Merena said. “I really want to hit all my routines because I’ve been working really hard.”

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