Men’s Gymnastics: Tribe stomps Madison for win

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March 24, 2009

1:55 AM

TRIBE 337.30, JMU 286.550

Despite injuries to a number of gymnasts, the no. 12-ranked College of William and Mary (11-6) recorded its second-highest score of the season with a dominating 337.30-286.550 victory over James Madison University Sunday afternoon at Kaplan Arena. The victory came in the last regular season meet of the year for the Tribe. The College will host the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Championship this Friday to kick off its post-season push.

Junior Derek Gygax headlined the Tribe’s day, notching wins on floor exercise, rings, parallel bars and high bar en route to an all-around total of 85.55. The nation’s no. 12 all-arounder had another standout performance, counting 5 of his 6 routines towards the team total.

“It was crazy how high we scored [considering the injuries we have],” Gygax said. “Our hit percentage was by far the highest it had been all year. Everyone was in the zone and helping each other out.”

Injuries to sophomores Andy Hunter and Matt Olesiak, junior Josh Fried and a class conflict for sophomore co-captain Max Sabert provided Head Coach Cliff Gauthier a limited roster with which to work.

Despite the adversity, the Tribe got off to a solid start on floor exercise with a 55.65 cumulative score as Gygax led off his consistent day with a mark of 14.10.

Seniors Richard Pearson and James Prim earned an identical 14.65 score on the pommel horse, helping the College to a season-best total of 57.10.

Fellow senior Jay Hilbun took the top spot on vault with a career-best mark of 15.35. Hilbun received support from Gygax and freshman Dan Melzar, whose respective scores of 15.05 and 14.65 helped the Tribe to a 59.30 total.

The College posted scores of 55.05 and 54.30 respectively on rings and parallel bars.

Gygax closed out the meet earning a score of 14.30 with a solid high bar routine, earning his fourth first-place finish of the competition.

“From last year to this year, [the NCAA] changed the scoring and deductions system,” Gygax said. “I just do my routines as well as I can and try to hit them all because if you fall ,or it’s ugly, there will be major deductions.”

Gygax has adjusted to the system, hitting 49 of his 53 routines this season.

With the regular season behind them, the College now turns its attention to the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Championship. The Tribe has taken six of the last seven USAG titles and 11 in the championship’s 14-year history.

“We want to do as well as we can [next weekend at USAGs],” Gygax said. “For us to win USAGs we will need the guys that weren’t able to compete this weekend. It is going to be a hard meet. Everyone has a little vengeance because of what happened last year.”

The College will look to overcome last year’s second-place finish to the Naval Academy. The eight-team tournament begins in Kaplan Arena Friday at 5 p.m.

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