Among notable heavyweight programs, such as Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and more, the Springfield College men’s gymnastics team didn’t shy away from the spotlight at the NCAA National Collegiate Championships last Friday evening.
Their second consecutive appearance was another historic achievement for the Pride to return to the national stage and was a momentous night for a certain first-year gymnast.
Owen Carney, a Business Management major from Sterling, Massachusetts, had a natural mixture of nervousness and excitement stepping onto the mats.
“It’s definitely a little intimidating, but you got to have confidence in yourself and believe that you can achieve something,” Carney said.
Carney’s events include the floor exercise, vault, parallel bars and high bars. During his high school career, Carney, like most gymnasts, did all six traditional events, but the rings and balance bar didn’t click and were removed from his arsenal.
“I feel like above all, I really prosper and shine in the vault and the uneven bars,” Carney said.
Shine he did, as Carney became the first student-athlete in program history to reach the finals of the championships in multiple different events – the vault and the horizontal bar. In fact, Carney became just the sixth Division III student-athlete in the last nine years to reach the finals in any event.
“The funny thing is that the vault that I competed with on day one of the championships was actually the very first time I tried it in competition,” Carney said. “It had been part of my training all season, and Coach Davis and I decided there was no better time to attempt it.”
Taking eighth in vault with a score of 14.466 and 12th on the horizontal bar with a score of 13.233, Carney certainly left his impact on the national stage, but also credits his teammates’ support and camaraderie for his success.
“The energy they bring really impacts the team and how we do, and I truly believe it is crucial that we have that support, because it gives us the confidence to get through the meeting no matter what happens,” Carney said. “I could feel the difference on the second day when it was just me, I really missed the team.”
Springfield also had other standout performances, such as from Dominic Ramalho, who scored a 76.432 in all-around competition to finish seventh as an individual. The duo of Felix Kriedemann and Jaden Laubstein did very well, with each scoring 12.433, good enough for top-25 finishes.
Following a great first season, Carney and the team look ahead to next season with a good deal of anticipation and excitement.
“I plan on doing some big upgrades to my routines, and just setting higher goals for myself and the team as a whole,” Carney said.
With an impressive incoming first-year class and rising stars already in the ranks, the men’s gymnastics team certainly has a lot to look forward to.
Photo Courtesy of Springfield Athletics