Chicago, Ill. - April 20, 2018 - Going up against the best competition in the nation, five Springfield College men's gymnasts competed in the NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships on Friday afternoon in the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavillion.
The afternoon was highlighted by an incredible performance by senior Chris Graff (Old Bridge, N.J.), as he qualified to compete in Saturday's individual finals in the all-around. Graff took fifth in the afternoon session in the all-around, totaling a score of 76.199. Teammate Stephen Lewis (Baltimore, Md.) was seventh with a 75.298, while Joshua Dieker (Oviedo, Fla.) took eighth with a 73.563. Under the direction of first-year head coach Matt Davis, Springfield College had the most all-around competitors in an afternoon session that featured student-athletes from Stanford, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Navy, and Air Force.
It was a historic afternoon for Graff as he became Springfield's first student-athlete to reach the NCAA Division I Championship all-around individual finals in Division III program history. A steady performance throughout the day featured a 13.800 on the vault and a 13.500 on the floor exercise, an event in which he tied for 16th in his session. Graff also produced a 13.200 on the rings, a 12.500 on the pommel horse, a 12.133 on the horizontal bar, and an 11.066 on the parallel bars.
Lewis just missed out on qualifying for Saturday's individual finals, falling short by less that .40 points. The sophomore, who just recently became the first Springfield men's gymnast to win the the ECAC Gymnastics All-Around Championship since 1932, delivered a 13.566 on the vault and 13.000's on both the parallel bars and floor exercise. Lewis also turned in a 12.766 on the rings, a 12.100 on the horizontal bar, and a 10.866 on the pommel horse.
In his final collegiate meet, Dieker delivered a 13.666 on the vault and a 12.866 on the rings to highlight his efforts. He also scored an 11.866 on the floor, an 11.933 on the parallel bars, an 11.766 on the horizontal bar, and a 11.466 on the pommel horse.
Jannik Haas (San Jose, Calif.) also represented the Pride in a pair of events, scoring a team-best mark of 13.133 on the parallel bars to go along with a 12.600 on the horizontal bar. Mike Grimaldi (Middletown, N.J.) placed right behind Haas on the parallel bars after scoring a 13.066 to finish 24th in the event.