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Midshipmen Show Strength In Gymnastics Star Meet

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The pressure of the annual Star Meet had little effect on the Navy gymnastics team on Saturday as the team was dominant from start to finish as the Mids led by 4.75 points after the floor exercise on their way to a 24.5-point victory over their service academy rivals Army by a final score of 404.4 to 380.9. Energized by a standing room only crowd at Macdonough Hall, the No. 4 Mids won every event over the No. 14 Black Knights by a minimum of 2.4 points and four by over 4.25 points.
Individually, a Navy gymnast finished atop the leaderboard of five different events with senior Ben Provost (South Hadley, Mass.) earning a shared victory on the floor exercise and an outright win the high bar, and junior David Toussaint (Warren, Ohio) tying for the floor exercise title, while winning the vault.. Additional winners on Saturday, included Jake Carlson (Jr., Lakeville, Mass.) on the pommel horse and Josh Williams (So., Cypress, Texas) on the rings.
"I couldn't be more prouder of the team for its our performance and effort out there this afternoon," remarked head coach Kip Simons. "There are no superstars on this team; it's just 22 guys that come to work every day. They're blue collar guys that want to put in the work. Before the meet, I asked the guys to give me 100 percent of everything they have today; whatever that may be, just give me and your teammates everything you have. I think that showed today.
"I knew that Army was going to be prepared and ready to come out and do a good job. I think that our guys were feeling it today. They were in the zone. We got the better of Army today."
As a team, Navy scored 67.25 points on the floor exercise, 65.8 on the pommel horse, 67.7 on the rings, 71.7 on the vault, 65.2 on the parallel bars and 66.75 on the high bar. 
Navy kicked off Saturday's meet with a perfect five-man sweep of the top-five positions on the floor exercise. The first gymnast on the mat this afternoon, Provost executed his routine with 9.1 precision to turn in an overall score of 13.9 that was tied for best in the event with Toussaint. Competing in his first career Army-Navy meet, Connor Van Loo (Fr., Freeland, Mich.) posted a 13.5 score to place third overall. Williams and team captain Frank Bradley (Sr., McLean, Va.) finished fourth and fifth respectively with scores of 13.05 and 12.9.
The Mids were nearly as dominant on the pommel horse with the top-four finishers on Saturday. Carlson was at the forefront of Navy's effort on this apparatus with a winning score of 13.9. Sophomore Dan Clark (Avon, Mass.) was 0.1 points back in second place with a 13.8. Toussaint and Ryan McVay (Jr., Roseville, Calif.) gave the Mids two more scores in the 13.0's with Toussaint's 13.05 and McVay's 13.0.
Up by nine points after two rotations, Navy kept the proverbial pedal to the metal with a 4.25-point margin of victory on the rings. Once again, Midshipmen gymnasts went 1-2-3-4 in the final standings. Williams dominated the field with a 0.5-point margin of victory, 14.15 to 13.65 over his teammate McVay. Ryan Orce (Sr., Gainesville, Fla.) placed third with a 13.65 before Carlson rounded out the top-four with a 13.3 performance.
Navy flexed its depth on the vault rotation with a stranglehold on the top of the standings with the top-five results. Toussaint won this event outright with a score of 14.6. Bradley and Williams tied for runner-up honors with matching 14.35 scores. Van Loo and Lucas Beltran (Sr., Corpus Christi, Texas) tied for fourth place as they each turned in 14.2 vaults.
Parallel bars was the only event on Saturday, in which a Navy gymnast did not finish on top of the leaderboard as Army all-arounder Mathew Davis held off Dhiren Lutchman (So., Beltsville, Md.) for the honors by 0.1 points, 13.5-13.4. McVay and Orce were right behind their younger teammate with respectively scores of 13.35 and 13.2. Toussaint was the fourth Mid in the top-five as he placed fifth at 12.8.
With the meet securely in hand, 337.65-318.95, Navy set its sights on surpassing the 400-point milestone for the third straight week on its sixth and final rotation of the day, the high bar. The final gymnast to touch the high bar on Saturday, Provost turned in the best result on the apparatus with a score of 13.8. Max Gerber (Jr., Dix Hills, N.Y.) came in second place courtesy of his 13.65 result. Cash Buske (So., Madison, Wisc.) and McVay tied for third with respective 13.2's. Giovanni Gambatese (Fr., Pewaukee, Wisc.) and Orce made it six Mids in a row at the top of the high bar leaderboard as they both scored a 12.9 on the day.
"The depth of this team is so great," said Simons. "On any given weekend its someone else that's ready to surge to the top. It's never the same two or three guys, all 15 of the guys out there bring it. We had two plebes out there today and they hit on all four routines that we asked them to hit. That's a great sign for the future.
"The third deck of Macdonough Hall was rocking today! I knew it would be. I think that the guys have really developed a nice fan base that comes out to support us. A big thanks goes out to those fans that made it out to MacD this afternoon!"
Navy will head out on the road for the annual All-Academy Championship next Saturday afternoon in San Antonio, Texas. The Mids will be looking to defend their title versus Air Force and this same Army squad in the Lone Star State.
With rifle winning earlier on Saturday, Navy now leads Army in the 2019-20 Army-Navy Star Series presented by USAA, 8-3-1 through 12 events.