Springfield College Men’s Gymnastics’ Jon Zirna Taking Stab at Records

Shawn McFarland
Staff Writer

Photo Credit: Drew Broffman
Photo Credit: Drew Broffman

Negative degree weather and seemingly endless snow weren’t enough to stop Jon Zirna and the Springfield College men’s gymnastics team from swinging and jumping into a hard fought match against Williams and Mary on Sunday afternoon in Blake
Arena.

Despite falling 412.3 407.8 at the hands of the Tribe, Pride junior and team captain Jon Zirna stole the show, scoring the most points out of any gymnast with 82.4 total points.

The multi talented Zirna took first in the vault with a scoreof 15.0, first in the parallel bars with 14.10 points, second in the pommel horse with a score of 13.8, and a handful of other finishes en route to his impressive afternoon.

“My coaches and head coaches have kept pushing me,” Zirna explained in regards to how he’s gotten to the level he’s
at now.

“It doesn’t matter how good you’re doing something, they’ll keep pushing me.”

His vault performance, which landed him the highest individual score of the entire match, brought the crowd to their feet as they witnessed Zirna flip through the air and stick the landing.

“He’s been really good,” Head coach Stephen Posner added on Zirna’s performance all season. “He had a great meet
up to high bar, where his hand grip got stuck on the bar.”

Along with his impressive junior campaign, Zirna has been invited to the Winter Cup, an event in Las Vegas in which top college gymnasts are invited to work out with the U.S. National team members.

Zirna leaves for Nevada on Wednesday, and the Winter Cup starts up Thursday.

“It’s definitely a huge honor,” Zirna said. “The minute I found out, I kind of added a little extra hard work to every practice. It’s kind of a motivating force.”

“It will be very exciting,” Posner said. “He’s not at that top level yet, but he’s at the point where he can qualify for the elite championships. It’s exciting.”

The Winter Cup is an invitation only event, hosting past Olympians and gymnasts hoping to compete at the upcoming Olympics.

The first session begins on Thursday night, and if Zirna places well, he would move on to the finals on Saturday.

From the finals, the top competitors will be invtied to compete in either the VISA Championships, national gymanstics competition, the PAN-AM Championships, a competition between North and South America, or even get an invitation to the upcoming Olympic trials.

The international event invites gymnasts from all over the globe to compete, offering Zirna the opportunity to potnetially put his name in the gymnastics record book.

Zirna will be attempting a skill on the pommel horse that he created and submitted, and if he completes the skill at the Winter Cup and the judges rule it successful, the move will be named after Zirna.

Along with Zirna’s performance, Pat Ryther took first in the pommel horse, swinging his legs like helicopter propellers to a 14.7
point performance. He added an 11 place finish in the rings as well.

Joshua Dieker took second in the rings with 14.0 points, as well as an eighth place finish in
the vault.

While the team dropped the match on Sunday (by a few points) Coach Posner was still pleased with his team’s performance.

“It was pretty good, not top, but pretty good,” Posner explained. “We were pretty even teams, and we took them to the last event. It could have gone either way, we’ve scored.”

Despite the tough loss, Posner remains optimistic heading forward. “We’re doing great. We’ve got some young guys in really contributing, some seniors setting the pace. We’re improving each meet. We’re having a good year.”

“We’re setting ourselves up on a path to succeed,” Zirna added. “We really want to do some great things at the end of the year. I don’t really want to say it out loud what we want to do, but we definitely have some high goals.”

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