April 20, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Senior Garrek Hojan-Clark was among the top 10 gymnasts on pommel horse to advance to the 2013 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Individual Event Finals Sunday afternoon and compete for All-America honors following his performance Saturday night at Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State.
Hojan-Clark is the first Black Knight since Brian Lee on still rings in 2005 to advance to the individual event finals where the top eight in each of the six events vie for All-America honors. Lee was the last Black Knight to earn All-America honors with his selection in 2005 after finishing runner-up. The last Army gymnast to earn All-America honors on pommel horse was Ben Hayward who finished fourth in 1997.
Ranked No. 2 nationally, Hojan-Clark turned in a 10th-place finish on pommel horse scoring a 14.55 to edge Penn State's Preston Gall for the finals by 1/10 of a point. Oklahoma's Michael Reider was first with a 15.15 followed by Minnesota's 15.0, the lone two gymnasts to score in the 15-point range.
"It was nerve wracking," said Army head coach Doug Van Everen. "Garrek did a great job, but the judges made a one-tenth mistake and I petitioned it, and I was able to get that one-tenth and of course that made the difference. But all-in-all everything went great.
"Sunday Garrek starts fresh and if does another routine similar to today, he will finish higher and challenge for All-America honors."
Also competing for the Black Knights was junior all-arounder Kip Webber, who came up short of advancing. Webber's top performance was a 14.55 on floor exercise in tying for 19th place among a field of 44 competitors. He scored a 14.1 on vault and a 13.7 on still rings for his top marks of the day.
"Kip also did a great job," added Van Everen, "but just came up shy. It was a good experience as this is the second time he has advanced to the second qualifying session."
Michigan captured the team title with a 443.2 following by Oklahoma (440.1) and Stanford (436.15) in rounding out the top three teams. Penn State was fourth (436.1) followed by Iowa (426.45) and Illinois (422.55).
Sunday's meet, scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. will have live stats and live video stream available on Penn State's website at www.gopsusports.com.