Jan. 30, 2014
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army's gymnastics team heads to Houston, Texas, Saturday for the annual All-Academy Championships as the 13th-ranked Black Knights will look to claim their first title since 2007 when they take on No. 11 Air Force and No. 14 Navy at 2 p.m. EST.
Army, who had won seven straight All-Academy titles between 2001-07, finished runner-up (410.6) to the Falcons (427.05) followed by Navy (407.3) at last year's meet held at the Georgia State Sports Arena in Atlanta, Ga.
The Black Knights were idle last week following a third-place performance at the West Point Open where sophomore Jesse Glenn defended his all-around title and junior Connor Venrickwas crowned the pommel horse champion.
In the latest GymInfo National rankings, Glenn lists ninth in all-around with an 85.85 average and is tied for fifth on high bar (14.867), while Venrick lists 15th on pommel horse (14.417) in trailing Air Force's Greg Chaput, who is tied for 13th (14.5).
Glenn also turned in a 14.9 to finish runner-up on high bar in the individual finals at the West Point Open and freshman Sam Kusnitz took third in that event behind a career-high 14.3. Kusnitz was sixth on floor (14.0) where classmate Joe Pritts tied for third (14.2). Kusnitz and junior Jeremy Cahilllists 40th (13.7983) and 41st (13.775), respectively, on high bar.
Pritts is ranked 38th on floor exercise (14.35) and Kusnitz is 40th (14.267), while senior Kip Webber lists 49th on vault (14.383) and still rings (14.233).
In the team scoring, Army is ranked higher than Air Force and Navy in three of the six events listing No. 8 in floor exercise (72.6), 11th on vault (70.475) and No. 7 on high bar (68.75). Army is also 14th on parallel bars (67.6), 13th on pommel horse (67.45) and 15th on still rings (667.6)
Air Force heads into the meet with the top average on pommel horse (No. 10, 69.3), still rings (No.11, 73.2) and parallel bars (No. 12, 69.533), and the second highest in floor exercise (No. 11, 71.15), vault (No. 13, 69.983) and high bar (No. 11, 67.65). Pommel horse and still rings are Navy's best events as the Midshipmen are 12th (67.35) and 13th (68.75), respectively.
While Army was idle last week, Navy and Air Force competed with the Falcons taking on No. 9 Nebraska and the Midshipmen placing third at their own Navy Open.
Though the Falcons fell to the Cornhuskers, 420.65-415.3, junior Skyler Awisus won high bar (13.95) in leading a sweep of the top four places, and freshman Tim Wang took first in all-around (83.6). Wang is currently ranked 13th as an all-arounder with an 83.817 average.
Air Force finished third in its season debut at its Rocky Mountain Open followed by a loss to Oklahoma (440.7-412.2), currently ranked No. 1 in the country.
The Midshipmen are coming off a third-place finish at the Navy Open following their highest score in two years (408.1). Connor Westrick, Mitchell Larios and Jonny Tang led the Mids as they each recorded third-place individual finishes on pommel horse (14.4), parallel bars (14.2) and all-around (79.25), respectively. Wang's performance also earned the Navy freshman ECAC Rookie of the Week honors.
Navy opened its season competing at the West Point Open where the Midshipmen finished fourth (400.5) with three gymnasts qualifying for the individual finals led by Larios' first-place finish on vault (15.15).
Following Saturday's competition, Army continues its service-academy rivalry as it takes on Navy and Air Force in dual matches, over the next two weekends. The Black Knights head to Annapolis, Md., for a showdown with the Midshipmen in the annual "Star" match on Feb. 8 followed by a home match with Air Force at Gross Sports Center on Feb. 14.