March 8, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Army's No. 14th-ranked gymnastics team hosts its final home meet of the regular season Saturday on Senior Day when it welcomes No. 5 Stanford and No. 17 Springfield to Gross Sports Center. First Classmen Nicholas Fettinger, Ikaika Jakub, Garrek Hojan-Clark, Jared Breeden and Gregory Fearnley will be honored in a pre-meet ceremony prior to the start of the meet at 1 p.m.
Fans unable to make the trip to West Point will be able to follow the action on Knight Vision by logging onto the Army Athletic Association's subscription-based multimedia platform on www.goARMYsports.com and click on the Knight Vision link.
The Black Knights are coming off a heart-breaking 411.35-409.40 loss to William & Mary in an Eastern College Athletic Conference match last weekend that went down to the final event. The next day the Tribe defeated ECAC rival Springfield, 408.05-400.4, to continue to rank second in the conference standings with the Black Knights third and the Pride sixth.
Stanford, a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, is coming off a second-place showing at the Collegiate Challenge, falling to the Japanese Collegiate National Team, 438.850-431.200. The Cardinal defeated No. 9 California (422.750), Arizona State (389.900) and Washington (357.700).
Army, Springfield and Stanford each have a gymnast or two ranked among the nation's leaders. Army's Hojan-Clark is second nationally on pommel horse with a 15.333 average. He posted his sixth win of the season scoring a 15.35 in his signature event, which is just 5/100s off his school record, in last weekend's home meet with William & Mary.
Springfield is led by junior Ryan Ponce, who at one point was No. 1 on still rings, and currently ranks third with a 15.633 average. Stanford has two individuals ranked No. 1 in the country in Eddie Penevu on floor exercise (15.725) and Sean Senters on vault (15.3).
Penu, also ranked second in all-around (88.117 average), was named the College Gymnastics Association Gymnast of the Week for Feb. 25-March 3. It is the second time he was selected for that honor this season and fourth time in his career. He was recognized for his performance at the Collegiate Challenge as the senior posted season highs finishing first in floor (16.000), vault (15.600) and the all-around (88.950). He also tied his season-best on rings with a 14.450. His scores in floor, vault and the all-around are the highest of any Stanford gymnast this season.
Challenging Penev will be Army freshman standout Jesse Glenn, who is unbeaten as an all-arounder in five meets and listed eight nationally with an 84.817 average.
While Army and Springfield compete against each other three to four times a season, it is just the fourth time that the Black Knights and Stanford are meeting. It is however the first time they will compete in a dual match at West Point as the three previous dual matches were in California with the Cardinal taking the measure of Army in each, the last in 1998.
However, it is not Stanford's first visit to West Point, as the Cardinal were part of the 12-team field that competed at the NCAA Championships hosted by Army at Christl Arena in 2010. The Cardinal finished runner-up after being overtaken by Michigan in the final rotation.
Stanford comes into the meet with a 434.933 average and ranked second nationally on high bar (73.333), fourth on floor exercise (74.733), fifth on vault (73.717) and parallel bars 972.217) and sixth on pommel horse (72.100) and still rings.
Army's shows a team average of 413.567 with its highest mark of 416.00 recorded at its own West Point Open where the Black Knights finished runner-up and Springfield placed fourth. Army's highest show is 11th on floor exercise (71.55) and 12th on pommel horse (69.00) which is just over three points behind Stanford's average in the former and trails the by latter 2.2 points..
In March the rules changed for gymnastics with "five-up, five-count" scoring format in which each gymnasts' score would count toward his team's overall total. The previous format saw six gymnasts perform, with only five scores counting and the lowest being dropped.
Following Saturday's meet, the Black Knights are on the road for their final three matches starting next week when they head to Massachusetts for a 1 p.m. match against Springfield on March 17.