Men’s Gymnastics: College finds form in easy victory over JMU

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February 9, 2009

10:41 PM

TRIBE 335.65, JMU 285.55

The 13th-ranked College of William and Mary (4-1) set season bests in five of six events en route to dominating James Madison University Sunday afternoon at Kaplan Arena. The Tribe’s impressive 335.65-point total easily surpassed the Dukes’ 285.55, proving that the College has enough talent to be a major threat this season.

Junior Derek Gygax solidified his spot as a team leader with wins on high bar and a runner-up finish on rings.

The College showcased its tremendous depth with a number of great performances in each event, especially on floor exercise.

Sophomore Andy Hunter earned a strong second-place mark of 14.25 in the first event with a clean, solid routine before senior James Prim posted a 14.4 to take the event. Junior Josh Fried and Gygax also performed well, receiving scores of 14.1 and 14.05, respectively.

Prim put together standout performances on pommel horse and rings. His score of 14.45 earned him the win after executing a difficult routine to near perfection. Prim continued his strong effort on the rings with a 14.45, good for another first-place finish. His effort propelled the College to a season-high 55.15 total in the event.

“Our first three competitors on pommel horse stepped up and nailed their routine, which really set the tone for the rest of the meet,” Head Coach Cliff Gauthier said.

The Tribe fared well on the vault as well, with sophomore Chris Valeska leading the way. Valeska stuck his landing after an explosive vault to earn a career-best 14.95, edging Fried’s score of 14.90. Senior Jay Hilbun rounded out the trio with a solid 14.60.

After a good run on the parallel bars, the College had its most extraordinary showing on the high bar as the team beat its previous high score by almost seven points. Hilbun and Gygax set the tone with identical scores of 14.45 to tie for first, while senior Sloan Crawford placed third with a 14.15. All five Tribe competitors in the high bar set season-high scores.

“It’s great to see us perform well as a team like we did today and make big strides since our first meet,” Valeska said. “But we still have a lot of room left for improvement.”

The College has the rest of the week to prepare for its road trip to no. 12 Temple University Saturday.

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