Friday, the William and Mary men fell to Navy for the third time this season, losing the dual meet 390.850-383.450. Despite the losing overall score, the Tribe took team titles in two events and put gymnasts on the podium in four events plus the all-around.
The Tribe started off strong, with senior Juan Palma (13.800) taking the individual title on floor. Sophomore Tomas Palma took second, posting a score of 13.700. Even with the Palma brothers’ strong showings, the Tribe took second in the floor team score, with a score of 65.700.
The crowd at Kaplan also saw Juan Palma place on vault. He took second with a score of 13.950. Freshman Collin Lillie took first place, posting a score of 14.100 as he made his collegiate debut, helping the College to a team title score of 68.550.
The Tribe took the team title on rings, posting a 66.850. Juniors Peter Makey and David Watkins tied for second place, posting matching 13.650s.
Senior Griffin Antle also brought home a second place for the College, posting a 13.100 on parallel bars. His score helped the Tribe to a team score of 61.700 on that event.
Antle, one of the team’s captains, said that holding the position has been motivating for his own performance.
“I have learned a lot as a senior from the captains who came before me and I’m very appreciative to be in a role where I can be a vocal leader for the team,” Antle said. “But at the end of the day I feed off of their energy just as much as they feed off of mine.”
Antle also posted a strong score on pommel horse, leading the way for the Tribe with his score of 12.650. The College took second in that event, posting a team score of 59.050.
According to Antle, having this meet at Kaplan made a difference in the team’s energy.
“We only have two official home meets during the season and we have them at the same time every year so it’s always sort of like a marker of where we’re at in the season and it’s always super special,” Antle said. “A lot of times in gymnastics we try to do a lot of the cheering ourselves so it’s nice to be able to feed off of some of that energy.”
Friday’s meet was rounded out by the high bar event, where the Tribe posted a score of 61.600. Senior Mitchell Campbell led the way for the College, posting a score of 12.950.
The Tribe’s two all-around competitors were the only gymnasts competing in all six events. Sophomore Nate Winneg took first in the all-around with a score of 74.150 and junior Jack Hasenkopf took second with 73.800.
Head coach Mike Powell said that the key for the team to find success later in the season is to continue to focus on mental focus and individual success.
“Gymnastics is a great sport because you have both the team element and the individual element, and the individual element has a lot of mental work in particular,” Powell said. “We’ve been doing a lot of mental work trying to make sure we’re ready to go out and do it with confidence.”
Antle echoed Powell’s sentiments, saying that a good part of the sport is in the athlete’s head.
“Gymnastics is a savage sport,” Antle said. “You spend so much time every week trying to polish out mistakes but they’re never gone. Gymnastics is so mental so we always have to get used to competing and doing the same thing you always do but doing it under pressure.”
The Tribe will have its second — and last — home meet next Saturday, March 10 against Army.
Antle said he hopes the team will carry the energy gained from home meets into the rest of the match ups of their season.
“I think today especially we had such good positive energy as a team and we’re really excited to carry that through the rest of the season,” Antle said.