No. 12 Gymnastics Defeats No. 14 William & Mary on Senior Day
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy gymnastics team closed its slate of home meets in Macdonough Hall for 2016 with a double-digit victory over William & Mary, 420.15 to 409.60 on Senior Day. The host Mids (2-0, 2-0 ECAC) collected first-place finishes in all six events, as well as in the all-around competition over the Tribe (0-1, 0-1 ECAC) on Sunday.
Jonny Tang (Jr., Malvern, Pa.) led Navy with three event wins as he posted the top scores in the all-around, parallel bars and high bar competitions. The quartet of Mitchell Larios (Sr., Frisco, Texas), Michael Dorsey (Sr., Hollywood, Fla.), Eric Poletti (Sr., Lancaster, Pa.) and Andy Jones (So., Reading, Mass.) rounded out the group of victorious Midshipmen. Poletti set a program-record on his way to the win on the rings.
“I’m really proud of our seniors on their special day,” remarked head coach Kip Simons. “They will remember their routines for a long time. Plebe Mitchell Fornek also played a strong role in our victory as he stepped up in his first start and did an outstanding job, especially on the high bar. I wasn’t really satisfied with our pommel horse team and we still need to fix some problems there.”
One week after setting a program-record with 424.1 points at the All-Academy Championships, the Mids aimed to equal that output and received very similar performances from the majority of its lineups as once again four rotations saw Navy post 70.0-plus scores.
As a team, the Mids recorded a score of 72.65 in the floor exercise, 65.65 on the pommel horse, 72.15 on the rings, 72.3 on the vault, 67.15 on the parallel bars and a 70.25 on the high bar. All four 70-plus point performances rank top-three all-time, while the high bar score ties a program-record.
Navy’s vault lineup earned the home team its largest advantage with a 3.55-point margin over William & Mary. The Mids starting squad posted the top six scores at the competition as Jones led the way with a career-high 14.75 result. Larios trailed his teammate by 0.1 points with a 14.65. Tang and Noah Beeman (So., Dayton, Ohio) were the third and fourth scorers with 14.35 and 14.30-point efforts, respectively. The fifth scoring position was held by seniors Zac Ceroli (Angier, N.C.) and David Frick (St. Johns, Fla.), who posted identical 14.25’s.
The Mids’ floor exercise squad was led by a pair of 15.0-plus scores as Larios and Tang finished first and second with respective routines of 15.2 and 15.1. Jacob Moses (Sr., Windsor, Colo.) gave Navy a sweep of the top-three spots with a 14.3. Beeman rounded out the Mids’ group of top-five finishers with a tie for fifth at 14.15.
Navy repeated its first, second, third and fifth-place output two rotations later on the rings. Poletti fronted the effort with a program-record 15.3-point score. Connor Gonzales (Sr., Glen Ellyn, Ill.) followed up his classmate’s personal-best score with a personal-best of his own at 14.95. Josh Gong (Sr., Oxnard, Calif.) made it a top-three sweep as he also set a career-high with a 14.4. Christian Correale (Fr., Harrisburg, Pa.) finished in a tie for fifth at 13.95.
The high bar team from Navy rounded out the quartet of high-scoring lineups as Tang led the way with a personal-high 14.9 result. In his first collegiate start, Fornek (Fr., Oswego, Ill.) turned in a 14.2-point score to rank second in the Mids’ lineup. Beeman tied for third overall amongst the field with a 14.2. Navy’s final two scores came from Frick (13.9) and Moses (13.0).
Highlights from the Mids’ parallel bars and pommel horse rotations came from the trio of Tang, Larios and Dorsey. On the p-bars, Tang set a personal-high with an event-best 14.5. Larios followed up Tang with a 13.4-point effort to finish fourth overall. On the pommel horse, Dorsey won the event with a career-high 14.15.
At the conclusion of the meet, Tang finished atop the leaderboard in the all-around competition with a score of 85.2. In addition to his top-scoring results in the floor exercise, vault, parallel bars and high bar, he also scored 12.85 points on the pommel horse and 13.05 on the rings. He defeated William & Mary's Aria Sabbagh for top honors by 3.85 points.
Prior to the competition between the ECAC rivals, the Navy program celebrated and honored its 10-man senior class. The Class of 2016 is made up of the follow members … Zac Ceroli, Michael Dorsey, David Frick, Josh Gong, Connor Gonzales, Mitchell Larios, Eric Morrison, Jacob Moses, Eric Poletti, Connor Westrick.
The Mids will step away from competition for a week before meeting up again with the Tribe in the conclusion of the two teams’ home-and-home series. On Sunday, March 6, William & Mary will host Navy in Williamsburg at Kaplan Arena beginning at 1 p.m.