Feb. 2, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. - -
Senior Garrek Hojan-Clark turned in his strongest performance in his final appearance at the West Point Gymnastics Open by laying claim to the individual title on pommel horse. He is just the fourth Black Knight crowned a champion in that event, and first since 2011 when former teammate Jonathan Hoey earned medalist honors.
Ranked No. 1 in the country since the first poll of the season, and unbeaten this year in his signature event, Hojan-Clark outdistanced the field with a 15.0 in besting his closest competitors, Temple's Brendan Williams and Alex Tighe, by eight-tenths of a point. The Brookfield, Wis., native, improved upon his winning mark of 14.8 set in Friday's preliminary round that helped the Black Knights to runner-up honors.
"I was pretty proud of myself," said a smiling Hojan-Clark at the conclusion of the meet. "I want to keep my consistency up and keep my form and maybe try to add a skill or two."
Senior team captain Ikaika Jakub also had a career best showing that earned him runner-up honors on vault in his final appearance at the West Point Open. His score of 14.3 was just 5/100s off the winning mark recorded by Temple's John Leonard.
Junior Kip Webber finished among the top six to medal in three of the four events he qualified in. The two-time NCAA qualifier was fourth on still rings (13.8) and vault (14.00), along with a sixth on floor exercise (13.9).
Sophomore Jeremy Cahill (14.35) and freshman Jesse Glenn (13.95) finished fourth and fifth, respectively on floor exercise; sophomores Alex Ganz was fourth on parallel bars (13.7) and Connor Venrick placed sixth on pommel horse (13.00) as seven Army gymnasts earned nine medals.
"The team laid it all on the line yesterday in finishing second at the Open," commented head coach Doug Van Everen. "Tonight some of the guys were tired. As it turned out, I pulled Jesse (the all-around winner Friday) out of a bunch of events in the finals. I felt that was the best thing to do.
"To have Garrek win the championship was great. The best part about that is the consistency in his performance right now and how he is coming into his own. As long as he keeps that up, he will be an All-American at the end of the year."
Also among the top eight advancing to Saturday's finals were Greg Fearnley on pommel horse, Ganz (still rings), Glenn (vault) and Webber (parallel bars).
Temple had four champions with Leonard (floor exercise and vault) and Tighe (parallel bars and high) each copping a pair of titles.
Idle next week, Army is back in action Feb. 16 when it heads to Atlanta, Ga., to compete with Air Force and Navy at the All-Academy Championships.