As the cold temperatures continue, the Springfield College men’s and women’s gymnastics teams are heating up as they continue the early part of their season. On Sunday afternoon, in front of a big crowd at Blake Arena, both teams put up season high scores despite falling in their respective dual meets.
For the women, they fell to Westchester – a Division-II opponent — 191.850 to 186.500, while the men fell to Army 395.050 to 388.050. The women increased their score from their first meet by three points, while the men bested their previous by just under ten points.
For the women, they were coming off of a fifteen day break as last Saturday’s meet in Ithaca was cancelled due the snow. Having already made the trip up to Ithaca, it put them in an odd position, as well as leaving them with just one meet under their belt coming into Sunday. Despite the long layoff, head coach Jenn Najuch was happy with her team’s performance but knows what her team showed today still has room to improve.
“We were really excited and eager to compete after our meet was cancelled last weekend. I feel like a lot of the goals they set, were accomplished but we can also recognize that we have a lot of work to go which is always exciting to see the little bits of progress that we can make in order to make our score higher.”
The Pride were led by senior all arounder Jess Clemens, who produced a combined total of 37.7 as the only all around in the competition. Clemens also was the high scorer on the bars with a 9.475 and a 9.525 on the vault. Meanwhile defending national champion Tali Twomey led Springfield with a 9.625 score on the floor routine while Sarah Murphy led the beam producing a score of 9.575.
While in an impressive meet for the Pride, Najuch knows there is still much room for improvement for the Pride going forward.
“Beginning of the season, our landings are a little rough, and we miss a couple steps here and there that could really clean up our score. We’re really working on the confidence that they have in the gym, because those landings are better when they’re not under pressure but when they get under pressure they add some extra steps here and there, so just building on the confidence and skills they have.”
After not posting a team score higher than 378.650 in their first two meets, the men’s team finished the day with a team score of 388.050 — a 9.4 point improvement from their previous season high. Springfield, who had to replace just over half of their routines from last year, showed on Sunday why head coach Matt Davis is excited for this young team.
“We have a very young team. Each practice, each meet is a good learning experience and they gain a lot of confidence. This week we were working a lot on the little things like landings, and the execution and it definitely showed this week.”
Springfield was led in the competition by the all-around effort of the defending ECAC champion in the event Stephen Lewis. He posted a new career high in the all-around with an 80.9, besting his previous high by a tenth of a point. Lewis wasn’t the only gymnast to set a new career high in the all-around., as sophomore Trevor Lamberton posted a 75.250.
“Trevor Lamberton is stepping up on a lot of events,” Davis said. “Christian Wilkey Jr. who’s a freshman cracked the ring lineup, and we also have a lot of sophomores stepping up. Jack Vollo, has been really consistent on the pommel horse, getting that 13 score. We have a lot of these guys that our gaining confidence.”
Lewis, who has cemented himself as one of the best all-around gymnasts especially in the ECAC, was the Pride’s leading scorer in five of the six events; including obtaining the overall high scores on the pommel and parallel bars. Senior Jannik Haas was the high scorer on the horizontal bar with a 13.
Coming up next for the Springfield College women’s gymnastics team, they travel to New Haven on Saturday February 2ndat noon for the Don Tonry Invitational at Yale, featuring Bridgeport, Southern Connecticut, as well as the host Bulldogs of Yale. The men have two weeks before their next meet, when they travel to Chicago for a dual meet with Illinois-Chicago on Sunday February 10 at 2:00 p.m.
Featured photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics