Feb. 29, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Army's gymnastics team faces a tough challenge at Gross Sports Center this weekend hosting ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) rivals Temple and Springfield. The No. 15th-ranked Black Knights take on the No. 9 Owls Friday evening in a dual match and they meet Sunday afternoon as part of a triangular with No. 17 Springfield on Senior Day.
The Owls defeated defending ECAC/EIGL champion No. 14 UIC, 337.7-325.5, two weeks ago. The Owls are coming off a triangular sweep last Sunday that included a 336.3-334.8 win over Air Force, who had beaten Army (334.0-326.5), two days prior.
Temple is ranked first in the conference with a 338.767 average and Army lists fourth (324.767). Navy (327.55) and UIC (327.233) stand in between at second and third, respectively.
The Owls captured the last eight meetings against Army with the Black Knights last win over Temple in 2005 on Senior Night at Gross Sports Center.
Though bowing to Air Force last week, Army posted season-highs in three of the six team events, along with the aggregate scoring. Juniors Garrek Hojan-Clark and Jared Breeden earned medalist honors on pommel horse and still rings, respectively, with Chase Brown (high bar) and Nicholas Fettinger (parallel bars) taking runner-up honors in their events.
Breeden set a season-high 14.4 with his winning effort on still rings, which is just 4/10s off his career mark. It is the second time Breeden won that event this year, having tied for first-place honors against Navy.
Brown equaled his career mark on high bar with a 13.7 for the second highest mark in that event, trailing Air Force's James Okamoto's 14.0. The Army senior also recorded a season-high 14.3 in a third-place finish on floor exercise.
Fettinger posted his second straight runner-up finish on parallel bars with a 14.3 that is just 2/10s off his career high. Hoey earned a 13.9 in a third-place effort on pommel horse as the Black Knights claimed two of the top three places in that event en route to outpointing the Falcons 53.9-52.4 in the team scoring.
Ian Howard tied his career-high 14.0 on floor exercise and Zack Linton tacked on a season-best 13.7 in that event as well. Brandon Long recorded his highest score of the season (13.5) on parallel bars, and freshman Alex Ganz set a career mark capturing his first all-around title with a 79.6. He also turned in a personal-best 13.8 on floor exercise and tied it on high bar (12.4).
In the event scoring, Army recorded season marks on floor exercise (56.0), still rings (54.4) and parallel bars (55.1), while posting its second highest scores on vault (55.5) and high bar (51.6).
In Temple's triangular with Air Force, the Owls and Falcons split the six team events. Temple won floor exercise, still rings and vault, and Air Force took pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar.
In the latest ECAC/EIGL conference standings, Temple ranks first in the six team events with Army second on pommel horse and parallel. At the national level, Temple lists among the top 12 in all six events, ranking as high as seventh on still rings, eighth on floor exercise and ninth in scoring average.
All three schools met earlier this year at the annual West Point Open with Temple taking second, Army was third and Springfield placed fifth. Sunday's meet presents all three schools an opportunity to assess each other's strengths and weaknesses with the conference championships being hosted by Temple April 6 and 7 just a little over a month away.
Both meets will be carried on ITT Exelis Knight Vision with Rick Johnston handling play-by-play. Fans can log onto the Army Athletic Association's subscription-based multimedia platform on www.goARMYsports.com and click on the ITT Exelis Knight Vision link.