Despite a heartbreaking one-tenth-of-a-point setback in the team portion of the ECAC Championships Friday night, the Tribe earned an at-large bid to the 12-team NCAA Championship meet because of the strength of its season scoring average.
In the team event at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., the Tribe notched a score of 341.35, while Temple University landed clutch floor routines late in the meet to capture back-to-back ECAC championships with a total of 341.45.
“We competed really well in that we started out the meet with Temple and [the University of] Illinois-Chicago trading the lead back and forth,” Head Coach Cliff Gauthier said. “We came up in the last event behind Illinois-Chicago by 4.2 points and behind Temple by 1.35 points and just about pulled the meet out. We just kept coming back and coming back throughout the meet and could have easily won it.
“In terms of execution throughout the entire meet, we were the best team.”
The College also captured 11 All-East honors in the individual section of the competition Saturday night.
“We had a really good performance as a team. Everyone was hitting, so we can’t feel too bad about coming up short,” senior Andrew Hunt said. “We went out there to try to make the other teams beat us, and Temple came up with a tenth more than us.”
The senior tri-captains Hunt, Aaron Ingram and David Locke combined for seven individual honors, with Hunt capturing gold in the high bar competition with a score of 14.55. The seniors led a group of six Tribe competitors to reign in 11 All-East honors, the College’s second-highest total since 1999.
“The pressure is off, making it a lot easier to compete the second day,” Hunt said. “I had a couple of my best routines of the year. I was pretty happy with it.”
Sophomore James Prim, who put up a score of 15.100, followed Hunt’s lead to secure the title on rings after badly jamming his finger on opening night.
“[Prim’s] finger was still bugging him, and he came through with an excellent performance that showed he is one of the top ring [competitors] in the country in terms of his execution,” Gauthier said.
Locke led the squad with three honors as the senior collected two bronze medals and a fifth place award, leaving Locke with seven total All-East distinctions for his career. Fellow senior Ingram claimed two trophies of his own with a third-place finish on pommel horse and sixth-place finish on parallel bars.
The College now prepares for its second trip to the NCAA Championships in three years. This year’s meet begins April 17 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
The trip will provide the Tribe with a chance to improve its final season ranking and finish the year on a high note.
“Our goal is to hit as best we can so we can get a good ranking,” Locke said. “Whatever we get at NCAAs decides where you finish overall for the season. We can get 10th or 11th place and take out a few teams.”