July 16, 2014
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Highlighted by the opportunity to host the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships, in addition to the West Point Open and a road matchup with Air Force, Army gymnastics head coach Doug Van Everen announced his team’s schedule Wednesday afternoon.
“It is an exciting and challenging schedule, but we feel this could be one of our best seasons,” said Van Everen, as he heads into his 25th season at Army. “Hosting the ECAC Championships is awesome this season because of the talent we have returning aided by eight outstanding newcomers. We were so close last year after finishing second at our conference meet. We are hungry and capable of winning this year’s ECAC title and automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.”
Three home competitions, including a home battle with Navy, are slated in the 10-meet regular season schedule. The Black Knights will get things underway on Jan. 10 opening against Penn State for the 12th straight year. The Nittany Lions finished sixth at last year’s NCAA championships, while Army closed out the year ranked 12th in the nation.
Army returns home for the West Point Open Friday (Jan. 16) and Saturday (Jan. 17). As a team, the gymnasts claimed third place at last year’s event, led by Jesse Glenn, who defended his all-around title, and Connor Venrick, who was crowed the pommel horse champion.
The Black Knights hit the road for a three-match road trip, first taking on the University of Nebraska on Jan. 30. A matchup with rival Air Force will take place on Feb. 1, as Army looks to avenge last season’s 417.85-416.05 defeat at the hands of the Falcons.
The All-Academy Championships in Houston, Texas will follow on Feb. 7. Last year, Army trailed Air Force and Navy, respectively.
The Black Knights will return home Feb. 14 to take on Navy in the “Star” match at 1 p.m. In last season’s matchup, Army was edged by the Midshipmen, 422.3-420.1.
Army heads to Massachusetts to face Springfield College in a dual match on Feb. 16 before selected individuals compete at the Winter Cup. The Black Knights will battle Springfield two more times, hosting the Pride and William & Mary in a triangular on Feb. 28, followed by a return trip to Massachusetts on March 8.
A road meeting with William & Mary will wrap up Army’s regular season on March 15 as the last competition before the conference championships.
“We only have a few home dual meets, to include Navy, which brings out the best in both teams,” Van Everen said. “I am looking forward to this season and I feel there will be a lot to reflect back on when it’s over.”
The Black Knights will showcase Gross Sports Center on Friday (March 27) and Saturday (March 28), when they host the ECAC Championships. In last year’s championships, the Black Knights finished second as a team with Glenn capturing the all-around title, along with being crowned the high bar champion. West Point has boasted the previous two all-around finishers in Glenn (2014) and Kip Webber (2013). Army will be in the thick of battle once again for the title and automatic team bid in the NCAAs.
The NCAA Championships, hosted by Oklahoma, will get underway April 9-11 from Norman, Okla. Nine West Point gymnasts made the trip to NCAAs last year and Army is hoping to be among the 12 team qualifiers for the 2015 championships.
Army returns 18 gymnasts from last year’s successful squad, including five-time USA Gymnast All-American Glenn, who received the honor in all-around, floor exercise, pommel horse, high bar and parallel bar, and USA Gymnast All-American Alex Ganz on parallel bars.
The Black Knights will have a strong group of upperclassmen returning, with five seniors and seven juniors to lead a group that will again look to successfully represent West Point.