April 19, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Army senior Garrek Hojan-Clark and junior Kip Webber advanced on pommel horse and all-around, respectively, competing individually in Friday's opening qualifying session at the 2013 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships being held at Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State this weekend.
It is the fourth straight year that Hojan-Clark has earned a berth to the Qualifier on pommel horse, and first time he has advanced. He headed into the NCAAs ranked No. 2 in the country with a 15.187 average. A finalist for the Nissen-Emery award, Hojan-Clark was ranked No. 1 in the country in his signature event six times this year.
One of the last to compete on pommel horse, Hojan-Clark finished seventh (14.7) behind Ellis Mannon of Minnesota's winning mark of 15.25 in the qualifying session. Mannon was the lone gymnast to score in the 15-point range.
Webber, a three-time NCAA Qualifier, finished fifth in his session as an all-arounder (78.0) to earn the right to continue on in advancing to Saturday's team finals. It is the second time in his career that he advanced to the second day, but his first as an all-arounder.
The native of Boxborough, Mass., who is ranked ninth nationally in all-around (82.375 average), turned in his top performances on vault (14.55) and still rings (14.35) in finishing 14th and 23rd, respectively in his session.
Webber competed as an all-arounder in 2011, advancing that year in floor exercise and vault to become the first Black Knight to qualify for the team finals since 2006.
"I am happy for both Garrek and Kip," said Army coach Doug Van Everen. "I am especially glad for Garrek because of the huge weight taken off his shoulders after coming up short of advancing the past three years. He can relax now as he earned the right to continue on and compete for a spot to the individual finals.
"All I am hoping for is an All-American, and I have two excellent chances with Garrek and Kip."
No. 3 Michigan captured first place among the six teams in the pre-qualifying session with a team score of 443.85. No. 2 Oklahoma (433.85) came in second followed by No. 7 Illinois (426.9) in advancing to Saturday's team finals. Rounding out the rest of the teams were No. 6 Minnesota 9424.7), No. 11 Air Force (417.9) and No. 10 Nebraska (417.55).
The second qualifier begins at 7 p.m. this evening and consists of No. 1 Penn State, No. 4 Stanford, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 8 Iowa, No. 9 California and No. 12 Temple.
The top three teams from each session advance to the team finals along with the all-around finals Saturday evening at 7 p.m. with live stats and live video stream available on Penn State's website at www.gopsusports.com.