Jan. 28, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Army closed out the two-day West Point Gymnastics Open with juniors Nicholas Fettinger and Garrek Hojan-Clark medaling on parallel bars and pommel horse with respective third and fourth place finishes in the individual event finals at Christl Arena Saturday evening.
It is the second straight year that Fettinger reached the individual finals on parallel bars at the West Point Open. He improved upon last year's fourth-place showing by taking the bronze. The native of Hemlock, Mich., scored a14.25 in the finals to trail .100 behind the winning mark of 14.35 recorded by Penn State's Miguel Pineda.
"I just focused on keeping it clean," said Fettinger following his performance. "I heard my teammates cheering me on in the background; and it was very exciting with a lot of energy. I felt good about my routine when I finished. Our team has had a lot of energy going into the first two meets, and we have a lot of room to improve, so we plan to keep on getting better."
Hojan-Clark had the most difficult routine among the pommel horse competitors, and though he slipped, he still finished among the leaders. It is the second time he has placed fourth in his signature event at the Open, earning that spot as a freshman. A preseason injury kept him out of last year's meet.
"Other than the fall, I was pretty pleased with my performance," said Hojan-Clark after picking up his trophy. "I just need to keep my legs a bit tighter and stretch out my hips more. But other than that it was pretty good.
"In the gym I just need to do some more sets to get more consistency with the set and I should be good for the rest of the season."
"Garrek (Hojan-Clark) did an excellent job and was swinging very aggressive and had no deductions," stated Army head coach Doug Van Everen. "It is encouraging because he had a legitimate slip. He had the highest degree of difficulty in that event, but unfortunately that happens with what he is doing. He did not fall because he was holding back or trying to be careful, he fell because he slipped.
"Nick (Fettinger) had a great performance. He was going up against Olympic and World Class competitors. He did not have the same degree of difficult they had, but he sure looked like he belonged in the same group, so I was very happy."
Freshman Alex Ganz turned in a 13.35 on parallel bars and classmate Jeremy Cahill posted a 12.95 with senior team captain Jonathan Hoey recording a 13.0 on pommel horse in rounding out Army's contingent that advanced to the finals.
No. 4 ranked Penn State captured all six individual titles and swept the top two places in five of the six events. Temple's Evan Burke was runner-up on floor exercise, nipping Nittany Lion Felix Aronovich for that spot by one-tenth of a point.
Idle this coming week, Army returns to dual competition when the Black Knights travel to Annapolis, Md., to take on the Midshipmen in the "Star" Match on Feb. 11. Army took third in Friday's team competition and Navy was fourth.