Mids Defend Navy Open Crown on Saturday
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - In front of a standing room only crowd that engulfed both sides of the Macdonough Hall Gym, the Navy Gymnastics team won its third straight Navy Open title in competition against William & Mary, Springfield and Temple on Saturday. Event-best results on the five of the six apparatuses led the Mids to victory with a final score of 397.65 points.
William & Mary finished second with 390.60 points to barely edge out Springfield College at 389.7. Temple rounded out the field with a score of 366.65.
Three strong all-around performances by Navy gymnasts spearheaded the Mids' effort on Saturday as Tanner West (Fr., Cypress, Texas) was first with a 79.9 six-event score. Jonny Tang (Sr., Malvern, Pa.) tied for second with 78.8 points, while Noah Beeman (Jr., Dayton, Ohio) was just one point behind in fourth at 77.8.
"Today was a great step in the right direction for the program," remarked head coach Kip Simons. "Tanner West was the story of today; he really brought it and went six-for-six in his routines. He's going to be a tough competitor moving forward. He really left his mark today. Jonny and Noah had large, important contributions for us today too in their all-around performances."
As a team on Saturday, Navy posted a 66.2 on the floor exercise, 63.7 on the pommel horse, 67.2 on the rings, 69.2 on the vault, 67.5 on the parallel bars and 63.85 on the high bar.
The duo of Lucas Beltran (Fr., Corpus Christi, Texas) and Tang got Navy on the scoreboard early with strong individual outings on the floor exercise. Beltran netted the day's only 14.0-plus result as his routine graded out with a 14.1. Tang ranked second amongst the field with a 13.7-point effort.
The next rotation, the pommel horse, saw the Mids struggle slightly and post their lowest event score of the day. Ohio natives Trevor North (Fr., Johntown, Ohio) and Beeman finished fourth and fifth individually with scores of 12.95 and 12.9, respectively.
Navy made its most significant jump over its opposition on the rings as they cleared the three other teams at the event by 1.7 points. West started hitting his stride on this rotation as he recorded a 13.75 result to rank first overall. Frank Bradley (Fr., McLean, Va.) and Wyatt LaPointe (Sr., Mechanicsburg, Pa.) came in right behind West in a tie for second with identical 13.6 scores. Tang made it four Midshipmen in the top-five with the fifth-best score at 13.35.
Andy Jones (Jr., Reading, Mass.) led Navy's most prolific scoring team, the vault lineup, with a 14.1 score. He ranked second overall in the competition as Springfield's Stephen Lewis came in .05 points better at 14.15. The Mids' depth showed well with everyone in their counting lineup finishing within the top-10. Beltran, West, Bradley and Tang placed fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth respectively with scores of 13.95, 13.8, 13.7 and 13.65.
Similar to the vault, a solid performance on the parallel bars saw every counting Midshipmen finish amongst the top-10. Beltran ranked third overall and first on Navy with a 13.7 before Christian Correale (So., Harrisburg, Pa.) and West finished tied for fourth at 13.6. Ryan Orce (Fr., Gainesville, Fla.) and Tang each posted 13.3 scores to tie for ninth.
On the last rotation, the high bar, Beeman collected Navy's third first-place individual finish as he recorded a 13.35 score. West made it a sweep of the top-two positions with a 13.25 effort. Orce was the last Midshipmen to finish amongst the top-10 as the freshman came in fourth at 12.7.
"We still struggled a bit on the pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar," said Simons. "Moving forward we are going to focus on getting those events nailed down. I expect us to be a 405-point scoring team as we set our sights on the Star Meet at Army in two weeks.
"It was a packed house here at Macdonough Hall and there was tremendous energy throughout the event. We really appreciate that support. Today was great day for Navy Gymnastics!"
The Mids will next be in action a week from today on Saturday, January 28 at home against William & Mary. The dual meet is slated for a 2 p.m. start at Macdonough Hall.