In Week 5 of ECAC men’s gymnastics, second-year programs Greenville and Simpson looked hungry to climb the rankings as they continued to break records. Navy and Army faced off head-to-head for the first time this season, with Navy taking the win.
Here’s what happened in Week 5.
#12 Army @ #7 Navy
Final score: Navy: 390.400 – Army: 377.500
The Black Knights showed a lot of improvements throughout this competition but ultimately fell short of Navy.
They began on floor, where they continued to show some advancements. Recent Winter Cup qualifier Jaden Blank struggled a bit, coming up short on his double front, but had a nice routine otherwise. Franco Peirano watered down his routine slightly, and it paid off, earning second place (13.35).
Pommel horse was a bit unfortunate for the team, as every member of the team stayed on the horse during their routines, but they all struggled to get up on their dismounts, with Maddox Pabellon being the exception. Although they had to muscle the dismounts up, five-for-five hit routines is the right direction for the team. Pabellon hit a beautiful set to take the title (13.7).
Blaze Kennedy and Blank earned a pair of 12.85s and third place on rings after both sticking their full-twisting double back dismounts, keeping Army in the mix despite being a few points behind Navy. Vault was strong as usual, with Peirano continuing his streak of stuck Kas fulls and Johnathan Pinc once again nailing his Yurchenko double full to tie for first with a 14.5.
Parallel bars was the best of the season for Army, grabbing a 64.3. Leadoff Jacob Brenner was able to stick his dismount after being short last week (13.15), and Noah Duran hit a beautiful set, sticking his double front dismount to grab a 13.5, just shy of first.
The Black Knights were en route to a season-high team score, but unfortunately had a hard time on high bar. They were led off strong by Tucker Blanchard, but had several errors after. Noah Pace couldn’t find the timing on his release elements, coming in close on all three and taking a big fall on his piked Tkatchev. Zachary Perez also struggled, coming in very close on his Gienger and having a mistake on the following cast pirouette.
Army will return to competition on Saturday, February 10 for the All-Academy Championships against Navy and Air Force.
Navy continued its consistent performances, with the Midshipmen earning their fifth win at home this season despite scoring a season-low 390.1. However, this score was earned without the contribution of star all-arounder Isaiah Drake, who did not appear in any of the lineups this weekend.
The Midshipmen began their effort on floor, where they started off struggling with two falls from leadoff Ian Dinmore. They left this mistake in the past and continued strong with their remaining four, closing off with a floor title for Syam Buradagunta after sticking his triple full dismount (13.6).
Navy extended its lead in the second rotation after strong sets on pommel horse, especially from Ronan McQuillan, who took second on the event (13.1). Rings was a close event between the two teams, but Navy had the edge with a big 13.2 from Riley Rose and a 13 from William Champagne, who took first and second, respectively, to edge out Army.
Vault was strong, with Daniel Gurevich earning a season-high 14.45 for his stuck Kas full, five-tenths higher than his previous best. Matthew Petros closed them out with the most difficult vault of the afternoon, a Kas 1.5. He stumbled back on the landing, but the high difficulty tied him for the title (14.5).
Similar to floor, they had a bit of a rough start on their fifth event, but did an excellent job of moving on and focusing on one routine at a time. Petros added his second title of the day and third parallel bars title this season with a 13.65. With a substantial lead going into the final rotation, Navy was able to let loose and put on a show for the home crowd. Caleb Hickey was aggressive with his turning elements and had a perfectly stuck full-twisting double layout to take first (13). The meet was closed out with a strong redemption routine from Erik Engelke (12.9), who struggled the week prior.
Navy will return to competition on Saturday, February 10 for the All-Academy Championships against Army and Air Force.
#11 Greenville @ #15 Simpson
Final score: Greenville: 392.950 – Simpson: 376.350
Greenville’s historic season continues, with a record-breaking team performance for the third competition in a row. The Panthers posted a whopping 392.95, higher than the reigning national champion, Stanford, scored this week.
They began on floor, where they were dialed in. Each gymnast in the rotation had at least one stuck landing, and they were closed off with a stuck 2.5 from Zach Connelly, who took the floor title with a 13.9. Pommel was solid, with four hits from the team. Henry Silva had some trouble on his single pommel Russian, but fought hard to stay on and finished with a commendable 12.1. Jacob Foster took home his first pommel horse title after an incredibly clean set and a 13.4.
They kept their momentum going on rings, and slightly increased their lead over Simpson by 0.75. Vault was great, with Beau Bice making a big improvement on his Kas 1.5. He had plenty of height and rotation and took just a hop forward on the landing. He had the top score of the day with a 14.45.
Parallel bars were huge for the Panthers, with no score under a 13 and a 66.2. Kevin Laurino didn’t disappoint with a big Bhavsar and Tippelt in his routine (13.2). Donovan Diviney followed up with a stuck double front dismount and a 13.5 to finish in first.
There were some difficulties on the final event, with Mac Pollock starting his routine but being unable to finish after an apparent injury on his attempted Tak half. Luckily, Michael Avery was there, ready to step up, and made his season debut on the event (12.25). Diviney continued his impressive day with another stuck dismount to take his second title with a 13.25. They finished with a team score of 393.950, but due to the medical replacement during the last rotation, they had to incur a 1.0 neutral deduction.
The Greenville Panthers will return to competition on Saturday, February 17 against Army and Nebraska in Lincoln.
Simpson put up a strong fight at home, also smashing the program record with a 376.35. It was the Storm’s first time breaking 370, and they did it by more than six points, which is very impressive.
Floor was not their strongest today, with a few missteps and a couple of falls. Michelangelo Villani had a bit of a fall on his floor Russians but had a nice set otherwise. Milo Staley and Camden Bontempo struggled on their opening Randis, both stumbling out of bounds. Sterling Pariza closed them out on a high note, with a stuck full-out in his opening pass (12.95).
Pommel horse was solid, with a very clean set from Pariza, who finished third with a 13.1), and three other hit routines. They almost bested Greenville on rings, with great sets across the board. Jake Smith started them off with a big 12.9 for his nicely controlled back uprise planche and stuck full-twisting double back dismount. Brian Rollison anchored the team and took the title with a 13.2 for his well-executed, difficult routine.
Villani was the highlight on vault, with a stuck landing on his Kas half, earning a 14.2 with only three-tenths off. Bontempo continued to struggle a bit, coming in crunched on the front of the table on his Yurchenko double full, and rolled back out of the landing.
Pariza was the highlight of parallel bars, earning a big 13.3 for his set to take second place behind Diviney. High bar was a much-improved event for the Storm, earning a season-high 60.7 on the event. Sammy Shafransky had a great comeback routine to earn a 12, and Jake Smith continued to show his prowess on the event with the highest score for the team (12.65).
Simpson will return to competition this Friday, February 9 at 6:30 p.m. ET against No. 5 Illinois.