New Rules, Same Competitive Spirit

28 Feb

This week poses a unique challenge for a lot of gymnasts on the team. With new NCAA rules implemented last year, half way through our season the format changes from 6 gymnasts up on every event and the top 5 scores counting to 5 gymnasts up on every event and all 5 scores counting. This poses a problem for the last 2 or 3 gymnasts on each event because they are fighting for that final spot.

This allows the guys on the team to not only compete against the teams every weekend but to compete against one another in the gym. With this 5 up, 5 count format, a hit routine is absolutely necessary because whatever score you receive from the judges has to count towards the team score. This little competition between teammates is creating an unreal environment in the gym. Although everybody wants to beat each other out for that 5th spot on the event, we still cheer each other on because we would prefer to have team success over individual success.

The choice which Coach Posner has to make when it comes to the lineup will be a difficult one. This week, we have the comeback of Ian Stratton to the all-around competition as he is coming off of his second broken ankle in two years. He has begun to do routines on floor and vault these past two weeks. Also, we look forward to seeing freshman DJ Carr hopefully break into lineup after an absence from the team for the first half of the semester. Carr likes to entertain the crowd with his sky-high front handspring double front on vault, which starts .8 higher than any other vault on the team.

With these rule changes approaching along with finals, I can speak for everyone on the team that we are looking forward to a week away from school work during spring break. Over spring break, 16 members of the team will stay on campus while the others will be allowed to go home and relax for the week. The 16 gymnasts that stay on campus are decided by whether or not they have a chance to compete as ECAC championships approach.

ECAC’s are just a few weeks away and Coach Posner, along with the assistant coaches, have created a practice schedule that allows us to peak the week of the ECAC competition. This practice schedule includes a number of 3 on 3’s and 2 on 3’s, which is when we do 2 or 3 routines on at least 3 different events. Next weekend, we have our first off weekend of the entire season. The team looks forward to that weekend in order to give our bodies a rest. The season is coming to an end and it looks like it is going to be a close one between all the teams in our conference. With this new 5 up, 5 count format, anything could happen.

Look forward to the next blog as I will discuss how the first competition of 5 up, 5 count lays out, and what the members of the team will look forward to doing with our week off of competition!


A True Team…

10 Feb

Coming off of a HUGE win against Temple University Sunday night, we left Philadelphia wanting more. It was tough having a day off that following Monday; all we wanted to do was hit more skills and routines just like we did against Temple at the meet.

The meet started off rough on pommel horse, but we picked it back up on the floor exercise although we only had five floor gymnasts in the line-up, so all scores had to count towards the team. We showed real team camaraderie throughout the meet by picking it up after pommel horse and this sparked my interest in how the men’s gymnastics team compares to other teams on campus and around the country.

We come in freshman year and are immediately taken in by not only a team, but also a family. Not only do we practice together six nights a week, we also eat dinner as a team afterwards along with eat a combined lunch with the men and women’s team. Even outside of the gym and cafeteria most of us are with other teammates. For instance, we have many gymnasts that live together: myself and Conor Galvin, Nick Jama and Eric Espejo, Ryan Ponce and Pat Hanley, while and Kyle Reasoner, Andy Grabowski, Sam Docherty, Billy Chin, and Brian Cogan all live in a suite style dorm.

Because of the amount of time we spend with each other, we create life-long friendships that allow us to really know more about our teammates than most other non-athletes know about their best friends. We stand behind our teammates athletically, academically, and, most important, emotionally. When someone is sad, your teammates give you a shoulder to lean on, when someone is mad, your teammates are there to calm you down, and when someone is happy, your teammates are there for you to spread your positivity.

The Springfield College men’s gymnastics team has the greatest team chemistry of any team I have ever seen, and we prove it on the floor at every single meet. This is why we are so successful, and we won’t take failure as an option.


Opening Weekend at Army

21 Jan

            Welcome to the first blog post for the Springfield College men’s gymnastics 2014 season! I’m Tim Lebbossiere, a sophomore gymnast out of Braintree, Massachusetts. Every week I will be recapping the practices, competitions, and events that occur during the week. It starts off this week after our two-day season opener at the West Point Military Academy for the West Point Open.

Ryan Ponce

            After two weeks of two-a-day practices, we entered the meet feeling confident. We finished this competition in 6th place with a score of 388.95. Halfway through the competition, our energy  dropped during the floor exercise when freshman Nick Jama suffered an injury. We came together as a team to come back with a strong second half which was highlighted with senior Ryan Ponce and senior Pat Hanley’s ring routines, which put them in the second day of competition for finals along with sophomore Jon Zirna on the pommel horse and parallel bars.

            Zirna finished 4th on the pommel horse (13.5) and 5th on the parallel bars (13.65). Hanley finished 4th on the still rings with a score of 14.55. Ryan Ponce took home his second consecutive still ring title with a score of 15.3. The Springfield College gymnastics team looks to improve on our season opener as we head to the United States Naval Academy for the Navy Open.

Passion for the Pride

5 Mar

March 2, 2013

The final meet of the regular season is something to look forward to. It marks the beginning of the end of a long competition season. It is also the last meet before ECAC’s and is the point of the season where we hope to be peaking with team and individual scores.

Our final meet of the regular season was scheduled at West Chester State in West Chester, PA. A casual 5 hour drive, we started out early Saturday morning and arrived at our hotel in the afternoon. We took a few minutes to settle in and then headed over to the gym with the meet starting at 6pm. Generally, we don’t travel and compete on the same day, but since the competition was in the evening it was the selected order of events. Not being used to walking into the gym on stiff legs and cramped muscles, the girls had an interesting experience adjusting to the circumstances.

The meet was a quad meet with host team West Chester, SCSU and RIC with a gymnast from Wilson College tagging onto RIC’s rotation. We began the meet looking forward to finishing off the regular season with a strong performance and confident attitudes. The freshmen class started us off right with a word of the week: Meow. I’m pretty sure we were all thoroughly confused as to how this word was supposed to be motivational… but the girls laughed off their joke word and produced their real word of the meet; Passion. This word reminded us why we all are still doing gymnastics after all these years of dedication to the sport. We all love the sport, no matter how tough it gets and whether we realize it or not, gymnastics is one of our passions in life. Without passion, we wouldn’t have the motivation to give it 100% and be satisfied whether we win or lose.

We started off the meet on bars with a strong performance, counting only one fall. On beam, we had consistent and confident routines by Nikki, Keelin and Lauren to start off the rotation, but lost a little focus at the end of the rotation to count 3 falls. Floor turned out to be a challenging event due to some trouble adjusting to the different timing of the mats. Although we struggled with some landings, we pulled it together at the end to finish up with some good performances. We finished the meet on vault with one of our better performances. Jen had a highlight performance by filling in for Abby who had to pull out of line up due to injury. Jen stuck her vault after performing for the first time in line up!

Overall, we didn’t have our best performance with a team score of 182.9. We had some struggles with injuries throughout the competition and a sense that we were tired after a long bus ride and possibly overwhelmed by finishing up the long regular season. However, a positive aspect of the meet was the constructive attitudes and encouraging cheers the team maintained throughout the meet. Although we didn’t do our best overall, we didn’t become discouraged by the outcome, and on the contrary came away realizing we could do so much better.

Beginning the practice week before ECAC’s on March 10th, we’re hoping to rejuvenate and regain energy to approach the weekend confidently and with renewed excitement. We have no doubts in our mind that we can qualify for Nationals in the top 3 teams. We just need to stick together and tap into our potential. By doing that, we’ll reach our goal of peaking at ECAC’s and making it to Nationals. Hope to see you there!


Trusting each other and ourselves

5 Mar


February 2

Coming off of a strong final home competition the previous weekend, we were excited to carry on our drive at Ithaca College in upstate NY. We were competing against SUNY Cortland and home team Ithaca College. Going up against two other teams in our region gives us the opportunity to see how our routines compare and how we compete against the opponents we will eventually be facing at ECAC’s.

One of the highlights of the meet that set the mood for a positive and motivated atmosphere was the arrival of our “fans of the week” to the meet. Being a solid 5 hour drive, Ithaca NY isn’t exactly a hot spot destination for our families and friends to travel to watch us compete. Nonetheless, we always have those few dedicated supporters and fans from the area who come to support us. At this meet, we were surprised and thrilled to see our strength and conditioning coach Greg walk into the gym with four of our assistant strength coaches. They had made the five hour road trip to watch us compete! Talk about dedication! Needless to say we were excited to have a fan section in the crowd and thankful for their support and all the parents, family and friends who also attended.

To start off the meet, the junior class introduced the word “Trust” to our rope. The addition of this word emphasized the importance of trusting in our team mates, their abilities and support, as well as believing in the strength of our own skills and routines. Our competition began on beam, and yielded our best performance on the event this season! Counting more hit routines than falls on the beam is always an achievement. Moving onto floor, we saw a lot of improvement in presentation and dance. But we also noticed room for progress in areas such as going out of bounds and cleaning up landings.

On vault we also had improvement in aggressive entries, but definitely saw need for clean up in landings and distance of our vaults. We finished up the competition on bars, delivering one of our most confident performances of the season. Coming away from the event, we were happy with our routines, but knew we always had areas to work on.

Finishing up with our last event, we knew we had done well as a team. The final score tallied a 183.8, our highest of the season, and enough to come in second to Cortland who had an impressive showing on their strongest events of floor and vault. Overall, we were very excited about our success! Coming away from the meet, I couldn’t contain my excitement about the steps we had made toward achieving our goal of improving our team score throughout the season and working on our mental toughness and team cohesion. I am so proud of the SC ladies and couldn’t be more thrilled as a team captain to be working with each and every one of them!


We believe!

26 Feb

As we near the end of the regular season, there comes a point when we begin to realize the hard work we’ve put into the season by the promising results we get to experience. With ECAC’s looming in the distance, the team is learning how to settle into their routines and perform with confidence and assurance in their ability.

On February 24th, we traveled to SCSU for our second to last meet of the regular season. Following our make-up this past Monday, we were excited to build upon our success and demonstrate our growing confidence. We added the word “Believe” to our rope. This word was chosen to represent the confidence that we need to have in ourselves and in our team mates in order to achieve our ultimate goal of building on our team score and qualifying for nationals at ECAC’s.

Starting on beam, we posted some big scores with solid performances by Lauren and Nikki. Although we also counted some falls, the routine’s overall possessed a more confident quality and it was one of our stronger beam performances. On floor we hit 6 for 6 routines! This demonstrates the distance we’ve come in being aggressive in our tumbling passes and cleaning up our dance and landings. Jen had one of her best routines of the season and Annmarie returned to floor showing off her double back!

On vault, the team had to adjust to a different vault setting that isn’t used at practice and most competitions. The girls kept their focus and were able to pull off a great performance! Kristin brought in the top score of the day with a huge front handspring front flip vault! Going into our final event on bars, we knew we were doing pretty well as a team, but we were not aware of our overall team score. Our goal on bars was to be aggressive and hit our handstands. Anchoring the team with two huge routines was Lauren and Rachel M. The final team scores were announced at the conclusion of the meet and the team had tallied a 184.5; our highest score of the season!

I don’t think we realized we were doing so well in the midst of the competition. In retrospect, the success of the meet was due to the contagious positive attitude the entire team displayed. We showed immense improvement in demonstrating confidence in our routines and supporting every team mate by staying positive no matter the outcome. We’re excited to finish our regular season at West Chester  in PA next weekend.



Senior Day

26 Feb

One unique aspect of gymnastics that isn’t typically a part of most other sports is the feature of performance. Every routine on each apparatus is composed of impressive and difficult skills that must be executed with graceful yet powerful technique. This is performance, and this is what the team focused on at our third meet of the season on January 27th.

In our home arena, the team was excited to show off their routines and perform to the best of our ability. The seniors were especially excited to be competing for the final performance of their gymnastics careers in front of a home crowd. It was sad for Annmarie and I to see our home meet season come to an end and the presentations made by juniors Keelin, Jen and Sarah P. helped us remember the amazing four years we’ve had at Springfield.

We added the word “perform” to our rope at this meet in order to remind us of the importance of presenting our routines to the crowd and showing off our skills with confidence in order to impress the judges. Competing against Ithaca College, the team was excited to see what we could accomplish. Although we counted a few falls on bars and beam, we finished strong with a big floor performance. Feeding off the cheers from the crowd the girls performed their routines with smiles and strong presentation! Anchoring the floor line up were the seniors. It was emotional for me, walking onto the floor, dancing to the music and completing my final pass and saluting to the judges. Walking off the floor I was thrilled to have made it this far in my gymnastics career, but also sad to realize it was coming to an end.

The meet ended in a close finish with our team score edging out Ithaca by a mere few tenths of a point. It was amazing to be able to finish off the home meet season with a win! We’re hoping to continue our success as we travel to Ithaca College next weekend.