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Ponce, Pezzino Advance at NCAA Division I Gymnastics Championships

Norman, Okla. — April 20, 2012 — A total of six individuals from the Springfield College men’s gymnastics team competed at the NCAA Division I Men’s Gymnastics Championships last night at the Lloyd Noble Center at the University of Oklahoma. Two, Jimmy Pezzino in the floor exercise and Ryan Ponce in the still rings, advanced to the individual finals Friday night.

In Day 1 of 3 of the NCAA Championships, the major events to be decided were team qualifiers in two separate rounds of competition. The top three team finishers in each qualifier advanced to the team finals on Friday. The top three teams to advance in the first qualifier were Michigan, Penn State, and Stanford. The top three teams in the second qualifier to advance were host Oklahoma, Illinois, and California. One of those six teams will win the national title. A total of 12 teams were competing in those two sessions, including ECAC-EIGL Champion Temple, and USAG Champion Air Force.

Among individuals, two of Springfield’s group advanced to the Friday individual next round. One had to place in the top three individuals of those teams which did not advance in a particular session.

Springfield College athletes competed in the second session last night. Within that session, sophomore Ryan Ponce (Tolland, Conn.) had SC’s highest finish — tied for 14th — in the still rings, with a score of 14.200. Ponce was able to advance to the individual next round in the still rings.

SC’s highest score of the night was produced by junior Jimmy Pezzino (Buffalo, N.Y.) at 14.700 in the vault, allowing him to finish tied for 15th. Pezzino also finished tied for 15th in the floor exercise with a 14.500, and in that event he too advanced to the individual next round .

“This is the first time I can recall that two of our individuals reached the next round in the same year,” said SC Head Coach Steve Posner. Two years ago, we had Ty Evans make it to the next round as a sophomore in the all-around. This is really exciting for Springfield College.”

In the other remaining events, none from SC advanced. Senior Ty Evans (San Jose, Calif.) finished fifth in the all-around in his session. He had a score of 79.150. He finished 19th in the vault (14.650), tied for 26th in the floor (14.150), tied for 30th in the high bar (13.600), tied for 40th in the pommel horse (11.800), tied for 40th in the parallel bars (12.500), and 41st in the rings (12.450),

Others who competed for Springfield included junior Chris Jost (Ashland, Mass.), who placed 32nd in the floor exercise (13.900), and who placed tied for 36th in the vault (13.950), freshman Pat Ryther (Boston, Mass.), who placed 38th in the pommel horse (11.950), and junior Kevin Miner (Canton, Conn.), who placed 38th in the parallel bars (13.250).

This competition includes the elite gymnasts in all collegiate divisions.