March 2, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Army's gymnastics team threw a scare at Temple Friday evening at Gross Sports Center as the No. 15 Black Knights headed into the final event holding a slim 279.8-279.3 lead over Temple, but the No. 9 Owls' 53.7 on high bar proved the margin of difference in taking a 334.3-330.9 decision over their host.
Army, posting a season high for the second straight week, won four of the six individual titles, along with claiming the all-arounder winner. Chase Brown (floor exercise), Garrek Hojan-Clark (pommel horse), Jared Breeden (still rings) and Ikaika Jakub (parallel bars) earned medalist honors and freshman Alex Ganz captured his second straight all-around title (78.00).
Temple, which ranks first in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, won four of the six team events. Army, ranked fourth in conference standings, outpointed the Owls on pommel horse (56.2) and parallel bars (55.1).
Brown turned in a season-high 14.4 recording his second win of the season on floor exercise after nipping Temple's Jeff Zack and John Leonard for medalist honors by 2/10s of a point. The Army senior tied for second on vault behind a season-best 14.3, and took third (13.6) on parallel bars.
Hojan-Clark, the reigning ECAC Gymnast of the Week, was first on pommel horse for the second straight meet and third time this season with a 15.1. Ranked No. 8 in the country in his signature event, Hojan-Clark finished over a point ahead of his closest rival; while his score was just 1/10 shy of his career high.
Breeden posted a career-high 15.0 to beat the field on still rings, dominated by Temple, as Army set a season-high 57.6 in the team scoring. The win was the second this season for the Army junior, who tied for fourth place on floor exercise with a 14.1 (equaling his personal best), and posted a 13.6 on vault.
Jakub captured medalist honors for the first time this season after beating the field with a season-high 14.0 on parallel bars, which was just 1/10 off his career best. Earlier in the meet, he shattered his career mark on still rings with a 14.6 to tie for runner-up honors.
Ganz turned in his highest score in the all-around on still rings where he tied for fifth place with a career-high 14.5, then equaled his second-highest mark this season on pommel horse (13.1).
After winning parallel bars with a 55.10, Army headed into its final event (high bar) with a 279.8 composite, but its 51.1 on high bar trailed Temple's winning mark (53.7) by over two points. That was enough to carry the Owls to the win after posting a 55.0 on its final event - parallel bars.
"Our guys did well tonight," said a smiling and relaxed Army head coach Doug Van Everen. "One of the things we have been focusing on is cleaning up our routines, but more importantly getting through them. So, this was by far our highest hit percentage, and we were rewarded for some cleaner routines.
"All-in-all, I am very happy with our performance. It is a great score for us, and I bet it is our best hit percentage in about five years. We have to rest up and come back strong and hit more routines on Sunday."
The Black Knights close out their regular-season schedule Sunday afternoon on Senior Day hosting a triangular with Temple and Springfield. It will be the final home meet for seniors Chase Brown Jonathan Hoey, Zack Linton and Brandon Long.