The Blake Arena stands were packed Sunday afternoon as the Springfield College men and women’s gymnastics teams hosted the Tribe of William & Mary and the Brown University Bears, respectively, at 1 p.m. Both Springfield teams suffered defeats in their efforts, despite two record-setting performances.
The men’s team lost by only 13.35 points to No. 12 William & Mary. Both schools recorded season-high point totals. The Pride scored a 407.1, which is 6.85 points better than their win on February 2 against Temple.
Springfield’s season-high performance was led on Sunday by sophomore Jon Zirna. The Buffalo, N.Y. native recorded a 15.15 on the pommel horse. Zirna’s incredible performance was good enough to beat the school record of 14.7, which was set by Matt Davis in 1998.
“This was an incredible achievement that I will always remember,” Zirna said. “It is an honor to set this record, but this is just the beginning for me mentally. I want to continue to make routines like I did today and continue to make progress.”
Zirna is certainly making progress, as he won the all-around competition with a score of 81.4.
Other standouts for the Pride on Sunday were seniors Ryan Ponce and Pat Hanley, who recorded second- and third-place finishes on the rings. The seniors received scores of 15.2 and 14.35, respectively. Junior Pat Ryther’s score of 14.75 on the pommel horse was good enough for third place.
This was the Pride’s fourth meet of the season, and the team is showing positive signs according to 32-year veteran coach Steve Posner.
“Improvement can be measured by team score,” Posner said. “I measure our success on team and individual improvement and am very pleased with our team performance up to this point.”
The Pride received some Top 15 votes this past week, but for now they are still on the outside looking in. They will have a chance to prove that they belong in the Top 15 in their next meet on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m., as they take on No. 13 Army at Blake Arena.
William & Mary outperformed their season-best score by 3.75 points, which they achieved on January 17 at the West Point Open, with a score of 420.45 on Sunday. The Tribe’s next meet will be against Navy this Sunday, Feb. 16 in Annapolis, Md.
This was the third meeting this season for the Pride and the Tribe. The teams previously saw each other in January at the West Point Open and the Navy Open. Sunday’s point separation between the Tribe and Pride was the smallest amount between the teams in their meetings thus far. The two teams have the possibility to face off in three more meets this year, including in Ann Arbor, Mich. at the NCAA Championship in April.
The women’s team scored 181.075 points in their loss to Brown University on Sunday, which consisted of five personal and one school record for the Pride women. The Bears scored 192.825 points.
Junior Lauren Pocius set the school record and a personal best on the uneven parallel bars. The Wallingford, Conn. native scored a 9.675 on the event to surpass the previous record of 9.65, which was set over 20 years ago in 1993 by Meg Geddes.
“It was incredible to break a record that has been intact for over 20 years,” Pocius said. “It is such an amazing feeling to turn around to see all of my teammates so excited for me and know that all of my hard work has finally paid off.”
Pocius’ performance was good enough for a third-place finish in the event. She also posted a 9.6 floor routine score, which was a personal best as well as a team-high for the afternoon.
Freshman Nicole Silva also posted a personal best on the beam with a score of 9.475. Sophomore Kristin Feliu topped the freshman’s score on the beam with a team-high 9.525.
The other two personal bests came from the talents of Coventry, Conn. native Kelsi Levesque and North Kingstown, R.I. native Jenna Croteau. The two freshmen recorded personal bests in the floor exercise with scores of 9.325 and 9.475, respectively.
The Pride will look to put this loss behind them at Southern Connecticut on February 15. Cortland and the University of Bridgeport will also be in New Haven, Conn. on Saturday at 1 p.m