April 5, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Army's gymnastics heads to the city of "brotherly love" this weekend to participate in the ECAC (Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference) Championships at McGonigle Hall on the campus of Temple University. The team competition will be held Friday at 6 p.m. with the top eight individuals in each of the six events advancing to Saturday's finals at 2 p.m.
The Black Knights have been idle since competing in a triangular hosted by William & Mary on March 17. Army captured three individual events highlighted by junior Garrek Hojan-Clark's record-setting 15.4 performance on pommel horse that broke his own school mark. Freshman all-arounder Alex Ganz tied his career mark on still rings (14.5) in capturing that event for the first time this season, and Nicholas Fettinger earned medalist honors on parallel bars (14) for the second time in the last three meets.
All three teams in the tri-meet are members of the ECAC with Temple sweeping the match with a 331.8 followed by the Tribe (331.8) and Army (326.5).
Army's goal at the ECAC Championships is to finish among the team leaders the first day and crown an individual champion or two the second day. Hojan-Clark, the reigning pommel horse champion, heads into the ECAC meet ranked first in the conference with a 14.632 average and fifth nationally (15.167). The Army junior has earned medalist honors six times and is unbeaten in the last three meets. The two-time NCAA pommel horse participant has scored in the 15-point range three times in his signature event.
Senior team captain Jonathan Hoey qualified on pommel horse and high bar at last year's ECAC Championships and is looking to be numbered among the finalists once again. Chase Brown, an NCAA participant on floor exercise last year, will be looking to make his presence felt in that event, where he lists ninth in the conference, along with high bar and vault. Brown posted Army's highest individual marks on floor exercise (14.5) and high bar (14.1) this season, and recorded the second highest score of 14.3 on vault, trailing junior Ikaika Jakub's 14.4 mark.
Jared Breeden is Army's leader on still rings (15.0), listing seventh among the conference schools, and will also challenge on vault (14.25) where he will be joined by Jakub and Brown.
Fettinger has been Army's top point producer on parallel bars. He ranks third in that event among the conference schools with a 13.655 average and career-high 14.5. Ganz and Jakub posted Army's next top scores of 14.4 and 14.2, respectively.
Freshman Jeremy Cahill turned in Army's second highest score on floor exercise (14.4) and also ranks among the leaders on high bar (13.8).
Three-time champion UIC will be challenged by host Temple for this year's title and automatic bid to the NCAAs as the Owls are ranked first in the conference and No. 10 nationally (340.767). The 13th-ranked Flames (331.667) and No. 14 William & Mary (331.067) list second and third respectively in rounding out the top half of the conference standings. No. 15 Army leads the lower half of the standings at fourth with a 329.2 average followed by No. 16 Navy (326.55) and No. 17 Springfield (326.083).
The Owls are ranked first in all six team events with the Flames (floor exercise and pommel horse), Springfield (still rings and vault) and William & Mary (parallel bars and high bar) trailing Temple in two events each. The ECAC champion earns the automatic bid to the NCAA championships being hosted by Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., April 19-21
Fans unable to make the trip to Philadelphia, Pa., can follow the two-day meet on Temple's website at www.owlsports.com where they can watch live video and live scoring.
Tickets are $10 per session with college student and youth tickets at $5 each. A group rate of $8 is offered for 15 or more with students in that group charged just $3