Springfield College Gymnastics Steeped In Tradition

John BotelhoCorrespondent IIApril 21, 2009

Coming into this season, the SC men’s gymnastics program was already steeped in tradition and success.  Stephen Posner’s athletes continued to add to that already extensive history last week when they participated in the USAG Championships in Williamsburg, VA.

Before this season Posner had coached 128 All-Americans as well as 17 more athletes who have claimed national titles.  When the team returned to Alden Street after the USAG championships, both those numbers had increased.

Seven athletes earned at least All-America honors at the event, and freshman Ty Evans was even able to capture the national championship in the vault.  Senior Ken Sloanhoffer wasn’t at all surprised with the first year’s performance. 

“Ty has been our most consistent gymnasts all year and his vault is just amazing. It’s awesome to see one of our freshmen stand out and claim the national title on a vault that was one of his best all year.”

His national crown was the first for the program since 2004, when Tim Goetz also won the vault.  Evans also finished second in the All-Around, barely missing a second national championship.  His success this season was a bit unforeseen, for reasons that had nothing to with him being a freshman. 

“I had surgery over the summer and doctors told me that I probably wouldn't be able to compete this year.”

Evans was able to overcome the surgery and prove his doubters wrong this season, but hopes to continue to build on his performance. 

“I have to train about 10 times harder this summer to improve everything.”  He added what the 2nd place finish meant to him as well. “The guy who beat me is a junior now and I almost beat him.  This will also motive me to win next year’s all-around.”

Evans was flanked by six other members of the gymnastics team who garnered All-America honors.  Kyle Bartgis and Andy Kelly both earned the award in the parallel bars as they finished 2nd and 4th, respectively, in the event. 

Kelly shared what it’s like to finish his career in All-American fashion, “It was a great accomplishment for me. As an athlete it made a statement of consistency and career achievement,” he said. “As a senior it was a cap-stone for my career and quest for athletic achievement at Springfield College.”

The Pride also had All-Americans in three other events.  Michael Freundlich took 5th on the pommel horse.  Matt Bolognese and Josh Spencer both finished 6th in their events—the rings and high bar—to round out SC’s top performers.

The USAG also saw fit to bestow significant honors on the Springfield College coaching staff, as the trio of Greg Monaco, Gary Loomis, and Matt Davis were named the Varsity Collegiate Assistant Coaches of the Year. It is pretty obvious that members of the team agree with the USAG decision to recognize their coaches. 

“They have been nothing short of awesome.  They each bring different dynamics to the team and contribute differently.  Together they have worked hard to keep us working hard,” said Sloanhoffer.

Kelly agreed with his fellow senior saying, “the coaching staff this year was the best I have witnessed in the past four years. We have a complimenting assistant staff comprised of knowledge, competition, and experience for the sport, and great support from them in and out of the gym.”

The Pride still have some action ahead of them as they have the ECAC and NCAA championships for those who qualified.  With the success they’ve experienced already this year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to even more trophies added to the programs case before the season comes to an end.