Men’s Gymnastics: Gygax, College tune up for USAG

Senior Derek Gygax stood looking straight ahead, on his face a look of utter exhaustion.

Sure, William and Mary’s meet against Temple had taken its toll on him physically. But the look on his face went far beyond the College’s 336.2 to 334.7 loss to no. 13 Temple. It was a look of one who knew the Tribe had, finally, righted its season.

“We have had a pretty strange season compared to most of the other teams. We started out really slow with about three meets in two months and now we’ve had three meets in one week, so it’s really picked up a lot,” Gygax said. “We didn’t really get ourselves into shape as much as we should have until about a week ago. But it’s pretty cool watching the team really come together, and its perfect timing because next week is our championship.”

It started on the floor against the Owls, as junior Josh Fried finished second in the exercise with a score of 14.45. Gygak was right behind his teammate, as his score of 14.30 was good enough for third on the day.

It was on the bars though, both the high and parallel, where Gygak and the Tribe shone. Gygak, junior Alex Egerter and freshman Kris Yeager swept the podium on the parallel bars, scoring 14.20, 13.90 and 13.65, respectively.

“Derek had a pretty good meet and Kris Yeager, the freshman, hit a real key routine for us on the parallel bars. And our high bar team is really improving,” Head Coach Cliff Gauthier said. “We were really struggling on high bar at the start of the year, but we had some guys come through and hit pretty well for us today.”

Juniors Dave Ellis and Andy Hunter finished second and third on the rings with scores of 14.00 and 13.95. The Tribe also finished in second and third place on the pommel horse, with Hunter earning second place with a score of 13.80 and Yeager scoring 13.70 to take home third.

“I’m real pleased with how our pommel horse squad and parallel bar squads have come on,” Gauthier said. “Our parallel squad is awesome, and we rock the house with those guys. They don’t break form or anything.”

The College’s improved outing has Gauthier believing his team has finally started to reassert itself as a legitimate championship contender, especially with the USA Gymnastics championship looming this Friday in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“The key is, you count four scores on each event, and we are now getting four hits that we are counting,” Gauthier said. “We were struggling to do that earlier in the year, but we are getting to that level. The next step is to get way more than that and have our top four guys always hit on each event.This weekend, we improved significantly. If we can get our hit percentage a little higher, I will be really happy. We took a big step forward and are in the hunt again.”

With its regular season now over, the College will look to defend its 2009 USAG title at Friday’s USAG Championships.

“There are going to be four teams in the hunt, but its Air Force’s meet to lose,” Gauthier said. “We are getting better and better, and our objective is to put pressure on them and see if they can hold up. I think we have a chance.”


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