There was some hope left for the men’s gymnastics team to salvage a somewhat disappointing season when seven gymnasts earned individual invitations to the NCAA Championships last week.
But the Owls, coming off a second-place finish at the conference championships that kept the team from qualifying for the NCAAs, fell short again as only three Owls advanced to the second day of competition and just one gymnast made the final round.
Seniors Nyika White and David Ramos, juniors Dan Berlin and Brian Forquer, sophomore Derek Shepard, and freshmen Luke Vexler and Sterling Kramer competed in the events. Coach Fred Turoff said he expected some of them to medal, but none did.
White, who placed third on rings at the NCAAs as a sophomore in 2003 and second last year, was one of the favorites to win the event. He had the top score in Thursday’s qualifying round, but finished in 10th place in the final round with a score of 9.175.
“I did the first part of my routine really well and then I just got tired at the wrong time,” White said. “[Coming in first place] was something that I really wanted, but I didn’t have it. Someone else did.”
Turoff said he wanted to see White finish first.
“We were heading into the finals with such high hopes, but unfortunately Nyika ran out of energy toward the end of his routine,” Turoff said. “Something unexplainable happened and it was just a sad day for all of us.”
Kramer advanced to the first championship round on Friday with a score of 9.100 on high bar. Ramos, who came in seventh place on Thursday, received a score of 52.875 in the all-around and also advanced to Friday’s events. White was the only Owl to advance after the second day of competition.
Still, Turoff said he was happy with how his gymnasts performed in the first two rounds.
“It was nice to have seven gymnasts in the competition,” Turoff said. “It was even better to have three of them advance. Sterling Kramer had a small mistake in his routine, but still did well. David Ramos came in 13th in all-around, which is pretty respectable.”
Despite going home empty handed, White said the gymnasts were motivated by the support that he and his teammates received at the competition.
“About half the team was there and a lot of our alumni came,” White said. “When I went up [to compete] I received a really nice reception from the crowd.”
Melissa DiPento can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.