By Chris Gionta
The Springfield College men’s gymnastics team was defeated by Army by the score of 382.85-378.9 on Sunday afternoon at Blake Arena.
For the first time since March 2020, spectators were able to experience the sights of acrobatic excellence, unparalleled body control, and the energy possessed by each team encouraging teammates to perform their best. It was also the first time that Springfield gymnasts — men’s or women’s — were able to hear Blake Arena applaud at a competition with each successful routine.
“It was a good atmosphere — getting spectators back in Blake Arena,” said Springfield head coach Matt Davis. “We did have some competitions last year, but it was virtual, and it was kind of just a different feeling. So, it was really exciting. I think the guys were excited to get back out there in front of the home crowd and really kind of put on a show.”
The Pride had some solid floor performances to begin the meet, with Charlie Kramer, Tim Templeton, and Andrae Butler all being top four scorers in the floor routine. Matching the theme of the meet, Springfield’s and Army’s point totals for the floor routine were extremely similar, as only 0.15 points separated the teams in the event.
Army had a 4.5-point advantage in the pommel horse, but the event did not lack standout Springfield performances. Juan Gomez — showcasing his skills in competition to the Blake Arena audience for the first time — displayed incredible strength and balance and scored a 13.0, which broke his previous career-best.
The Pride had the edge in the rings event by a margin of 2.85. Springfield was led in the event by Noah Dhaliwal, who scored an impressive 13.75. Despite not scoring the highest, David Handron gained respect for his performance after recovering from an equipment malfunction.
“Dave Handron — his ring grip broke and then he hopped up at the end and then he was able to do his routine,” said Davis. “That’s kind of a big thing we work on mentally, too — to be ready.”
Springfield also outdid Army in the vault, where Dominic Ramalho led the way with a score of 14.3, with Butler directly behind him with a score of 14.2. Ramalho also stood out in the parallel bars event with a score of 13.2, which was the second highest score in the event.
After the tight meet with Army, the Pride have 21 days to regroup before their next competition on Feb. 20 against Navy. The team will take this as an opportunity to improve physically and mentally.
“(What we’ll be working on) is the mental side of things,” said Davis. “Really cleaning up execution of skills, really having more confidence and endurance in those routines so that they can make it all the way through. So, it’s the little things that we’re going to work on the next couple weeks. And I think the guys are excited to have that time to really slow down, fix some things, and then get back out there to show them what we’ve done.”
Photo: Gillian Dube/The Student