Men's Sports Sports

Men’s Gymnastics Takes Fourth at ECACs, Ryan Ponce Repeats on Rings

Billy Peterson
Staff Writer

On Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6, Springfield College’s Blake Arena played host to the men’s ECAC gymnastics Championships.

The competition on Friday was designed to capture a team winner along with the all-around individual title. The University of Temple, for the second consecutive year, was crowned champion with 411.650 points. Springfield College finished fourth out of six (407.700 points). The four other schools competing were William & Mary, University of Illinois-Chicago, Army and Navy.

The all-around championship was shared by junior Kip Webber of the Military Academy and junior Daniel Potemski of William  & Mary. Webber, who is a Boxborough, Mass. native, split the title with Potemski with a score of 82.850.

Springfield freshman Jon Zirna, from Buffalo, N.Y., finished ninth overall with 81.150 points. The spread of points from first to ninth  was so small that Zirna had to be impressed and pleased with his performance. Potemski jumped from fifth place a year ago, to first this year, showing how tight the competition is in gymnastics.

There is little to no room for error in this sport.

After Friday, the top 10 finishers in each of the six events went on to compete for individual titles in those events on Saturday. Springfield College sent six gymnasts to the competition on Saturday afternoon with junior Ryan Ponce stealing the show for the Pride.

Ponce competed in the still rings and parallel bars. The junior from Tolland, Conn., defended his still rings title from the previous season, winning the event with a score of 15.750. That score happened to be the highest of the evening. In addition, Ponce finished eighth overall in the parallel bars with a score of 12.750.

Also having a solid competition for the Pride was senior Chris Jost. Jost finished fourth in the floor exercise with a score of 14.550, and ninth in the vault scoring 14.110 points.

Four others placed in the top 10 for Springfield to go along with the steady performances from Ponce and Jost.  Senior Jimmy Pezzino was tied for sixth (14.400 points) in the vault, and senior Kevin Minor placed sixth in the parallel bars with a score of 13.500.

Rounding out the day for Springfield was Zirna and freshman Pat Ryther. Both Zirna and Ryther competed in the pommel horse, with Zirna scoring a 14.200, good enough for third place and Ryther finishing fifth with a score of 13.800.
Neal Courter of William & Mary was the big winner of the evening, winning two of the championships in floor exercise and vault.

It was a solid showing for the host Springfield College. They will have one more competition in the NCAA Championships held at Penn State University from April 19-20.

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