Navy Gymnastics Wins 2018 ECAC Championship
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy gymnastics team had a banner day on Saturday at the ECAC Championship as the squad cruised to a 5.70-point victory and captured the 2018 title with a season-high score of 405.50 in front of its home fans at Macdonough Hall. The Mids saw four different gymnasts finish atop the podium as champions of individual events in a showcase of the ECAC's best talent.
The rest of the team standings saw William & Mary in second at 399.85 and Army in third at 389.30. Springfield and UIC rounded out the team results with scores of 384.70 and 377.25, respectively.
Navy's quartet of individual champions consisted of Lucas Beltran (So., Corpus Christi, Texas) on the vault, Tanner West (So., Cypress, Texas) on the parallel bars, Ben Provost (So., South Hadley, Mass.) on the high bar and David Toussaint (Fr., Warren, Ohio) on the pommel horse. In total, Navy gymnasts appeared on the podium as a top-six finisher and All-ECAC performer on 16 different occasions.
As a team, Navy posted a 66.75 on the floor exercise, a 67.05 on the pommel horse, a 64.3 on the rings, a 71.75 on the vault, a 66.15 on the parallel bars and a 69.55 on the high bar.
"This was our most complete team effort of the season," remarked head coach Kip Simons. "We started off on vault and had a high score of the season and never looked back from that point on. Today's results were a culmination of hard work, sacrifice and preparation. We are peaking at the right time as we head into the NCAA meet in two weeks in Chicago."
Navy's day began on the vault and saw Beltran lay down a season-high score of 14.8 to rank first overall in the field of 25 gymnasts. His teammate Frank Bradley (So., McLean, Va.) was right behind him in second place with a 14.55 result. West made it three Mids in the top-10 with a score of 14.2 that placed him 10th overall. Noah Beeman (Sr., Dayton, Ohio) and Travis Keller (Fr., Centreville, Va.) rounded out the Mids' high scoring lineup with matching 14.1 scores that tied for 12th-best.
For the second straight event two Mids finished on the podium as West spearheaded Navy's parallel bars squad. The sophomore tied for first place with William & Mary's Griffin Antle with identical scores of 13.85. Beeman was the second Mid to garner All-ECAC honors on the parallel bars as he came in sixth at 13.4, barely edging his teammate Christian Correale (Jr., Harrisburg, Pa.), who turned in a 13.35, good for seventh place.
In one of the most dominant single event performances in ECAC Championship history, the Mids' high bar team crushed its opposition as all five gymnasts who competed on the apparatus on Saturday finished in the top-six. Provost was the leader of the pack as he turned in a career-best score of 14.2. Prior to the meet, he had never scored above a 13.8. Freshman Ryan McVay (Roseville, Calif.) also set a career-high as he was awarded a score of 14.0. Beeman made it a sweep of the top three spots at 13.95. After William & Mary's David Allen came in fourth with a score of 13.9, West and Ryan Orce (So., Gainesville, Fla,) came in back-to-back in fifth and sixth with scores of 13.85 and 13.55, respectively.
The Mids' turn on the floor exercise saw solid results with four Navy gymnasts finishing in the top-10. Bradley and McVay each took home All-ECAC honors with scores of 13.7 and 13.65 that ranked fifth and sixth, respectively.
On the ensuing event, the pommel horse, four Mids ranked amongst the top-seven overall. Toussaint led Navy's unit with a 13.9 score that tied for first place with William & Mary's Jacopo Gliozzi. Orce just missed making it a three-way tie as he earned a 13.85 result to rank third. Trevor North (So., Johnstown, Ohio) was the third Mid on the podium as he turned in the sixth-best score at 13.35. Jake Carlson (Fr., Lakeville, Mass.) just missed out making All-ECAC in seventh place at 13.25.
Navy concluded its award-winning meet on the rings. McVay earned his third All-ECAC honor of the day as he placed second with a score of 13.45. Correale came in 0.35 points behind his teammate at 13.1 to finish sixth overall.
The solid showing on the rings clinched the victory for Navy and the Mids erupted as the program won its second ECAC Championship in three years. Prior to the 2016 team's victory, the Mids had gone winless at the conference meet since 1989.
After the meet, the ECAC announced its yearly award winners. Navy was on the receiving end of two such accolades as Toussaint was announced as the ECAC Rookie of the Year and Simons was recognized as the ECAC Coach of the Year.
Navy will look to continue its strong work in the postseason at the NCAA Championships on the weekend of April 20-21 in Chicago at UIC. Currently ranked 10th nationally, the Mids will compete in the team qualifying meet on Friday, April 20 with the goal of advancing to the championship finals on Saturday.