Mids Earn Third Place Finish at Annual Navy Open
Connor Westrick had two top-7 finishes on Saturday.
Jan. 25, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy men's gymnastics team had a strong effort on Saturday afternoon in the 2014 Navy Open. Competing before a packed Macdonough Hall crowd, the Mids compiled their highest team total in two years as they registered a 408.1 score on their way to a third place finish. No. 5 Penn State earned the team title with 420.9 points, while No. 12 William & Mary finished runner-up at 414.25.
The underclassmen trio of Connor Westrick (So., Waterford, Wis.), Mitchell Larios (So., Frisco, Texas), and Jonny Tang (Fr., Malvern, Pa.) led the Mids as they each recorded third place results in individual events.
As a team, Navy scored a 67.45 in the floor exercise, 67.25 on the pommel horse, 68.75 on the rings, 69.20 on the vault, 68.50 on the parallel bars and a 66.95 on the high bar. For the second-straight week, the Mids exceeded their 2013 scores at the same event in five of six disciplines.
"I'm glad that we are improving," said Navy head coach Dr. Sho Fukushima. "There are still quite a few areas that we have to overcome a lot of weaknesses, but I can see where we are going to go from here with some of our athletes."
Westrick was Navy's highest scorer in pommel horse action as the sophomore registered a 14.4 score for his routine. He followed up this third place finish with a seventh place effort in the parallel bars courtesy of a 13.9 score.
Larios led the Mids in parallel bar action as he earned a 14.2 score and ranking of third place.
Tang rounded out the trio of third-place finishers as he completed the all-around competition with 79.25 points. In individual events, the freshman earned top-10 finishes in the high bar (fourth, 14.0) and the pommel horse (tenth, 13.45).
In floor exercise action, junior Eric Viscardi (Marietta, Ga.) was the top finishing Mid as he turned in a 14.05 score, good enough for fourth place. He was followed closely behind by senior captain Chris Junghans (Dunkirk, Md.), who was seventh at 13.8.
Sophomore Andrew Potts was the third Navy gymnast to finish amongst the top 10 on the pommel horse as he joined Westrick and Tang with a 14.0 score and fifth place standing.
The rings were the second-highest scoring event for Navy with a trio of Mids in the top 10. Junior Thomas Goodell (Hopkinton, Mass.) led the way with a 14.55 score and fourth place finish. Joshua Steves (Houston, Texas) and Connor Gonzales (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) finished back-to-back in ninth and tenth with scores of 14.0 and 13.9, respectively.
Steves followed up his ring performance with the highest score in the vault for Navy at 14.05, good for ninth place. Viscardi rounded out the vault's top 10 with a score of 13.95.
In the all-around, Tang finished with scores of 12.05 (floor exercise), 13.45 (pommel horse), 13.05 (rings), 13.9 (vault), 12.8 (parallel bars) and 14.0 (high bar). His 79.25 score was 0.55 points better than Junghans, who netted a 78.7 and a fifth place finish.
"In comparison to last week, we became a lot steadier," said Fukushima. "Last week, we had at least 22 major mistakes that lost us at least one point. This week, we reduced our mistakes by nearly 50 percent. Its almost impossible for us to be perfect, but we can continue to work and aim to come even closer by the end of the season."
The Mids will look to continue their upward growth next Saturday, Feb. 1 at the All-Academy Championships in Houston, Texas. The three-meet between Army, Air Force and Navy will commence at 1 p.m.