The team portion of William and Mary’s season came to an end this weekend as the Tribe placed third out of six teams at the ECAC Championships Saturday with a score of 336.40.
The event was hosted by the University of Illinois-Chicago, which placed first overall with a score of 346.90 and received an automatic bid to continue to the NCAA Championships later in the month. Temple also placed above the Tribe, ending with a score of 338.30. The other teams in the event — Springfield, Navy and Army — ended the day with scores of 338.30, 333.20 and 326.70, respectively.
The College just missed its last chance to qualify for the NCAA Championships, in which the top twelve nationally ranked teams participate.
“Everything was on the line, and we just missed it,” head coach Cliff Gauthier said. “It looks like we’re going to finish up in the 13th position, so we just missed the NCAAs. That was a little bittersweet.”
The Tribe placed third in the floor exercise category with a score of 56.20, falling behind UIC and Springfield, while senior captain Andy Hunter placed fifth overall in the event with a mark of 14.4.
Then in pommel horse, the Tribe secured a second-place finish with a score of 55.6.
The Tribe placed at the top on the rings with a score of 56.90, beating out second-place UIC by an entire point. Freshman Landon Funiciello got the gold for the event with a mark of 15.1.
Although the College placed fourth overall in the vault, freshman Daniel Potemski did well once again, bringing in a mark of 15.5, placing third individually.
The Tribe ended the day by placing third and fifth in parallel bars and horizontal bar, respectively.
The College then sent five gymnasts to the individual competitions Sunday.
Potemski brought home gold on the vault with a mark of 15.65, earning the College’s first ECAC vault recognition since 2008. Funiciello ended second in the ring event with a score of 14.75, and Hunter earned awards in both pommel horse and floor exercise, placing fourth with 13.70 and sixth with 14.25, respectively. Deutsch placed sixth on pommel horse with a mark of 13.55 and Smurro placed sixth on the parallel bars with 13.60.
Gauthier said he predicts the team’s five individual competitors as well as senior captain Dave Ellis and sophomore Kris Yeager will qualify for the individual portion of the NCAA Championships on April 14. Funiciello is currently No. 10 in the nation, giving him the possibility of earning All American in his first year of competition, something that would be a first for the Tribe.
Such high-marking performances from his younger players leaves Gauthier optimistic about the seasons to come.
“We lose some fantastic leadership, but the guys coming back are just amazing, and we’ve got some good freshmen coming in,” he said. “When you look at it from a coaching standpoint, these are the kind of guys you want to be surrounded by.”
And although the team portion of the season is over, the coach looked back on the season with delight.
“The season was so great overall that if I look at it as a total picture, I couldn’t have asked for more,” he said. “It was just fantastic.”