Strong Effort at West Point Open Kicks off 2018 Season
WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Navy men’s gymnastics team opened its 2018 campaign with an emphatic performance at the 27th Annual West Point Open. Taking on a six-team field, the Mids posted a score of 395.05 to place second overall, trailing just the No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions, who recorded a meet-high 406.85 points. A complete team effort highlighted the Mids’ effort on Friday night at Christl Arena as 10 different Navy gymnasts finished amongst the top-10 on the six individual apparatuses.
Following Penn State and Navy in the team standings, Army, the host squad was third with 380.35 points, while William & Mary placed fourth at 378.30. Springfield College and Temple’s club team rounded out the standings with scores of 369.25 and 223.05, respectively.
“Our boys became men tonight,” remarked head coach Kip Simons. “I’m so proud of their resilience and cohesion. 25 of our 36 routines tonight were by plebes and youngsters. The guys bought in early in the preseason and tonight we saw the results. They performed like champions!”
Navy had strong results in each rotation with multiple gymnasts finishing top-10 in all six turns, including three Mids on the floor exercise, pommel horse, vault and high bar. Lucas Beltran (So., Corpus Christi, Texas) led a trio of Mids, who placed consecutively on the floor exercise on Friday night. The 2018 NCAA Championship competitor posted a team-high 13.5 score to place eighth, while Ben Provost (So., South Hadley, Mass.) was ninth at 13.45 and David Toussaint (Fr., Warren, Ohio) was 10th at 13.4 in his collegiate debut.
The pommel horse was just as prosperous for Navy as the floor and once again Toussaint was a catalyst for the Mids’ success. The plebe recorded the third-best score of the entire competition on Friday night with a 13.35. Sophomore Ryan Orce (Gainesville, Fla.) was three spots behind Toussaint in the standings at sixth with a 13.1-point effort before team captain Noah Beeman (Sr., Dayton, Ohio) gave the Mids three gymnasts in the top-nine with a 12.7-point score. Jake Carlson (Fr., Lakeville, Mass.) just missed making the top-10 as he received a score of 12.3 to finish in 11th.
On the strength of four scores of 14.0-plus, the vault was Navy’s highest scoring event. A tightly grouped pack of scores was headlined by Tanner West (So., Cypress, Texas) and his fourth-place score of 14.35. Separated by just 0.05 points, Andy Jones (Sr., Reading, Mass.) and Travis Keller (Fr., Centreville, Va.) ranked sixth and seventh with scores of 14.2 and 14.15, respectively. Beeman was the fourth Mid to reach the 14.0-point threshold as he posted a 14.0 to rank 12th overall.
The fourth and final event with three Navy gymnasts in the top-10 was the high bar. Freshman Ryan McVay (Roseville, Calif.) made his presence felt in collegiate action with a debut performance of 13.3 on the high bar to rank fourth in the individual standings. Beeman trailed the impressive rookie by 0.05 points in fifth place at 13.25. Provost capped his effective two-event night on Friday with a 13.0 score to finish in seventh position.
West led Navy’s effort on both the rings and parallel bars as the sophomore posted team-high scores of 13.05 and 13.6, respectively. Overall, that placed West fourth on the rings and second on the parallel bars. Frank Bradley (So., McLean, Va.) was the second top-10 score for the Mids on the rings with a 12.8-point result that was good for eighth place. Orce duplicated that eighth place result on the p-bars with a score of 13.25.
As a team, Navy posted a 66.3 on the floor exercise, a 63.65 on the pommel horse, a 63.75 on the rings, a 70.65 on the vault, a 66.0 on the parallel bars and a 64.7 on the high bar.
In the final standings of the all-around competition, Penn State’s Sam Zakutney was the top finisher amongst six gymnasts with a score of 81.35
West (R, V, PB), Provost (FX, HB), Toussaint (FX, PH), Orce (PH, PB), Beeman (PH, HB), Beltran (FX), Bradley (R), Jones (V), Keller (V) and McVay (HB) all advanced to Saturday’s event finals and will represent the Mids in the 7 p.m. competition.