April 4, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Army's gymnastics team has been looking forward all season to competing at the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) Championships, and the wait is finally over as the Black Knights head to Springfield College for this year's meet being held at Blake Arena. Six schools will compete for the team title Friday evening at 7 p.m. with the top eight individuals in each of the six events advancing to Saturday night's competition at 6 p.m. to vie for medalist honors.
Though it will be a stern test, the Black Knights are looking to surprise at this year's meet. Army has been idle the last two weeks in preparation for the conference championships with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
Army finished third in a triangular hosted by Temple on March 23rd in closing out the regular season, but has a clean slate heading into the ECAC Championships where the Black Knights are ranked third in the league standings. Army's senior-laden team lists among the top three in all but one of the six team events in ranking first on floor exercise (71.3 average), second on pommel horse (68.467), vault (70.967) and parallel bars (68.833), and third on still rings (69.967).
Army's conference losses were to William & Mary and Temple, ranked first and second in the league standings, with wins over Navy and Springfield. UIC is the lone team Army did not compete against this season.
The Black Knights' achilles heel has been high bar, and it has proven costly in several meets, to include Army's 411.34-409.4 loss to William & Mary. The meet went down to the wire with the Tribe outpointing the Black Knights 67.35-61.35 on high bar en route to overcoming a 3.9 deficit. Army posted a 69.05 on parallel bars and the Tribe scored a 67.35 on high bar to enter the final rotation with the Black Knights leading 348.05-344.15.
Army's Garrek Hojan-Clark continues to lead the country with the No. 1 ranking on pommel horse (15.317 average), an event he has won eight times this season. Two years ago he captured the ECAC title in his signature event, and is a top contender to win his second crown.
All-arounder Kip Webber will also be in the running for a title or two. Ranked 13th nationally as an all-arounder, Webber is second in the conference with an 82.27 average and lists among the leaders in four of the events. He is third on still rings (14.833), fourth in floor exercise (14.683) and vault (14.583), and fifth on parallel bars (14.133).
Also ranking among the league's leaders are Jeremy Cahill, eighth in floor exercise (14.383), and Ikaika Jakub, 11th on still rings (14.067) and 12th on vault (14.367). Nicholas Fettinger and Chris Short are tied for 10th on parallel bars (13.867), Alex Ganz is 12th on still rings (13.988) and Michael York is Army's top performer on high bar (13.417).
William & Mary, Navy and Springfield competed at the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championship hosted at the Tribe's Kaplan Arena last weekend. Air Force claimed the Varsity Division team title with a 420.85 and was followed by William & Mary (419.1), Navy (404.6) and Springfield (401.85).
UIC closed out its regular season suffering a 428.300-400.300 loss to No. 10 Iowa on March 30th, while defending champion Temple will be looking to capture its second consecutive crown. Like Army, the Owls have been idle since hosting the triangular on March 23.
Fans unable to travel to the meet can follow the action with live streaming on Springfield's site at