Jan. 17, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
The Navy gymnastics team will kick off the 2013 season with the annual Navy Open this Saturday at Macdonough Hall at 2 p.m. The Mids will welcome No. 14 William & Mary, No. 12 Temple, No. 4 Penn State, SUNY Brockport and Springfield to this year's event. Navy placed second at the season-opening event last season.
2013 Season Preview
With a total of 12 newcomers and no seniors on the roster, the Navy gymnastics team will look to forge a new identity in 2013. The young Midshipmen return five letterwinners from last season's team, including just one upperclassman in junior Chris Junghans.
"Chris is determined to lead this team," said Navy head coach Dr. Sho Fukushima. "First, it is by example. His all-around performance in the six events should lead the rest of the team with not only more difficult skills, but also with a more technically sound routine."
Junghans saw action in every meet last season. He competed in the all-around eight times and posted a season-high score of 82.0 at the USAG Championships, good for third place. The native of Dunkirk, Md., also joined teammate Andrew Faulk at the NCAA Qualifier where he placed sixth in the all-around.
While Junghans, the team captain, is the only upperclassman, he'll be joined by a host of sophomores who gained valuable experience last season.
Thomas Goodell, Alex Hoersten, Jeff Sauers and Eric Viscardi all contributed to the success of the team last season in various roles and will be counted on in even more ways in 2013.
"Eric and Jeff should challenge Chris on the floor exercise," said Fukushima. "Eric is very good on the rings and vault and should lead our team in both events."
Viscardi competed primarily in the rings and vault as a freshman, but saw action in the floor exercise in each of the last three meets of the season. His best meet of the 2012 campaign came against Temple where he registered season-high scores in the rings (13.5) and vault (14.3). He ended his freshman campaign with a season-best 13.4 on the floor exercise at the ECAC Championships.
Sauers saw action in nearly every meet in the floor exercise and vault. His best floor exercise score (14.2) came at the West Point Open, while his best vaulting total came against William & Mary (14.1).
Goodell competed on the rings in every meet in which he saw action in 2012. He also competed on the parallel bars and horizontal bar in all but one meet. His top score on the horizontal bar was a 13.6 against William and Mary.
"Thomas and Josh Steves should vie for the team's top spot on the horizontal bar," said Fukushima.
Steves joins Trevor Carson, Ian Grinaski and Alex Hoersten as returning sophomores that saw action as rookies last season.
Navy's 12-member freshman class includes Zac Ceroli, Michael Dorsey, David Frick, Josh Gong, Connor Gonzales, Mitchell Larios, Cameron Morgenweck, Eric Morrison, Jacob Moses, Eric Poletti, Andrew Potts and Connor Westrick.
"We have many great young gymnasts that will fill gaps in our team lineup in all six events," said Fukushima.
Poletti is expected to contribute in the all-around, while Westrick and Morrison will see action on the pommel horse. Larios figures to be a factor in the vault and Potts on the parallel bars.
"It's difficult to predict at this time how our other younger gymnasts will contribute this season," said Fukushima. "We hope our growing pains will be minor as our young gymnasts grow."
After beginning the season with the Navy Open, the Mids will host William & Mary in the first of three dual meets between the programs. The two teams will meet on Jan. 27 and March 9 in Annapolis and on March 16 in Williamsburg, Va. The Mids and Tribe competed on consecutive weekends last season with each team winning at its home venue.
Navy will make the first of two trips to Army on Feb. 1-2 for the West Point Open. Navy will return to West Point on Feb. 23 for the annual Star Meet. The Midshipmen will be looking to retain the Star as they have captured each of the last four duals with Army.
In addition to the West Point Open and Star meet, the Black Knights make two more appearances on the Mids' schedule. Navy will join both Army and Air Force on Feb. 16 for the All-Academy Championships, which will be held in Atlanta, Ga. The Mids fell just short of claiming the All-Academy title last season, missing the top spot by only two points.
On March 23, Navy will head to Philadelphia, Pa., to take on both Army and Temple.
The championship portion of the Mids' season will begin March 29-30 with the USAG Championships in Williamsburg, Va. The following weekend, Navy will be in Springfield, Mass., for the ECAC Championships.
The 2013 NCAA National Qualifying Meet will take place on April 18, with team and individual finals following on April 19 and 20, respectively. This year's NCAA Qualifying Meet and Championships will take place on the campus of Penn State in University Park, Pa.