Navy Scores 400.65 Points at NCAA Championship Qualifying Meet
WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Navy gymnastics team had a stellar showing at the NCAA Championships on Friday night as the Mids went toe-to-toe with nation’s best programs and recorded 400.65 points to place fifth overall in the second session of the qualifying meet. Competing as one of six teams at the Army West Point’s Holleder Center, Navy registered its highest-ever finish at the national meet as it outscored California by 0.4 points. With the combination of both the afternoon and night sessions, the Mids finished 11th overall of 12 teams.
“Tonight was one of those magic-filled evenings,” remarked head coach Kip Simons. “I couldn’t be more proud of this team. The guys did such a great job tonight on such a big stage. The leadership and perseverance from our two seniors was incredible. It’s been a marathon of a season and I tell the team every year that it’s going to be a marathon and we literally sprinted over the finish line tonight. To upset California and finish fifth was big deal for the program. We just weren’t content with being at the NCAA Championships, we went out there and had a presence.
“Over half of our routines were done by plebes; they’ve grown up a lot this year. A lot of that growth comes from the leadership of our team captain Wyatt LaPointe. The future looks bright for Navy Men’s Gymnastics!”
Oklahoma, the top-overall seed and defending NCAA Champion cruised to the session victory with a score of 430.6. Illinois and Minnesota finished second and third respectively with scores of 421.3 and 420.1 to advance to Saturday’s championship finals. The rest of the session standings saw Iowa in fourth at 412.5, Navy in fifth at 400.65 and Cal-Berkeley in sixth at 400.25.
Individually, championship final qualifiers, Jonny Tang (Sr., Malvern, Pa.) and Lucas Beltran (Fr., Corpus Christi, Texas) led Navy on Friday night. Noah Beeman (Jr., Dayton, Ohio), Will Longwe (Fr., Stoughton, Mass.), Frank Bradley (Fr., McLean, Va.) and Tanner West (Fr., Cypress, Texas) also added to the Mids’ effort with top-20 scores.
As a team, Navy scored a 67.4 on the floor exercise, a 64.05 on the pommel horse, a 66.9 on the rings, a 69.6 on the vault, a 66.85 on the parallel bars and a 65.85 on the high bar.
Competing in the all-around, Tang was the top individual finisher with 82.15 points courtesy of seventh-place result in the floor exercise at 14.3, an 11th on the parallel bars at 14.1 and a 12th on the high bar with a 13.8. The senior also scored 12.75 points on the pommel horse, 13.55 on the rings, 13.65 on the vault. Amongst the nine all-arounders on Friday night, Tang cleared the field 1.6 points.
Beeman also tested himself in the all-around and completed the night with 79.3 points to rank sixth. He was just 0.85 points shy of earning the third all-around qualifying spot. The junior’s highest finish came on the high bar with a 13.45 score and 17th overall ranking.
Navy’s second qualifier for Saturday’s championship finals was Beltran, who earned his way in with a 14.05 score on the floor exercise to tie for 13th overall and a 14.3 on the vault, which also tied for 13th.
The top three all-around competitors not on one of the top-three qualifying teams from the session, plus the top three individuals on each event not already qualified on a team or as an all-around competitor, advanced from Friday's qualifying round to Saturday's finals.
Other top-20 finishers for the Mids on Friday consisted of the freshman trio of Longwe, Bradley and West. Longwe backed up Tang and Beeman’s performances on the high bar with the 19th-best score of 13.4. Bradley nearly earned his way into the championship finals for the vault with a score of 14.25. The final qualifying spot was earned with a 14.3. West also was under consideration for a spot in Saturday’s finals for his effort on the parallel bars that tied him with four others for 18th place via a score of 13.65.
“It was a special night for the entire program,” concluded Simons. “From the coaching staff, we couldn’t be more proud of the guys for putting together a total team effort. There were a lot of personal bests out there tonight and to have representation in tomorrow night’s finals with senior Jonny Tang, who did what he always does. He went out there and was consistent and won this evening’s all-around for session two. It’ll be a challenge tomorrow night for him to repeat, but if he gets the job done and goes six-for-six, he could be an All-American in the all-around. I’m real proud of his efforts. Freshman Lucas Beltran went out and made the finals in both of his two events; that’s something special that he’ll remember for the rest of his life.
“Tonight was a great, great evening!”
Tang and Beltran will continue their 2017 seasons on Saturday night as individual participants in the NCAA Championship Finals. Tang will ply his craft in the all-around competition, while Beltran will take on the field in the floor exercise and vault events. Saturday night’s action kicks off at 6 p.m.
Combined Team Standings from Sessions 1 & 2
Oklahoma – 430.6 *Qual.-S2
Illinois – 421.3 *Qual.-S2
Stanford – 420.45 *Qual-S1
Minnesota – 420.1 *Qual-S2
Ohio State – 414.65 *Qual-S1
Nebraska – 413.05 *Qual-S1
Iowa – 412.5
Penn State – 410.5
Michigan – 406.95
Air Force – 403.8
Navy – 400.65
California – 400.25