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William and Mary

William and Mary Menís Gymnastics Qualifies Eight Individuals for NCAA Championships

Indianapolis, Ind. - Despite the fact that the College of William and Maryís 13th-ranked menís gymnastics squad missed making an appearance at the NCAA Team Championships by a hairís breadth (as the top 12 ranked squadís in the country are invited), it will still be well represented at the event as eight Tribe student-athletes qualified as individuals for the event which will start Thursday, April 16 at the Sports Pavilion on the campus of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

The Tribe individuals will compete at what is called a pre-qualifying event, which is broken down into two sessions. Each of the two session features six of the 12 qualifying squads and the top three all-around competitors who had not made the event as part of the championship team field. The top six individual event qualifiers will also be evenly split between the two ses-sions. At the completion of the two qualifying sessions, the top three teams and individual scorers who arenít among the advancing teams move into the team championship portion of the event, held Friday, April 17. The team and all-around champion will be crowned that evening, while the top 10 overall event scorers from Fridayís action will move forward to Saturday, April 18thís individual event championships.

Tribe junior all-arounder Derek Gygax (Stevensville, Md.) comes into the action as the nationís top all-around among indi-vidual qualifiers. As such, Gygax has the opportunity to advance in each of the six individual events, as well.

Senior team co-captain Sloan Crawford (Burlington, Ontario, Canada) comes into the event with the top scoring average on the high bar (14.180) of all qualifying individuals, he will be joined at the event by fellow senior Jay Hilbun (San Antonio, Texas), who brings the nationís fourth best high bar average (13.870) among individual qualifiers.

Another senior, James Prim (Hendersonville, N.C.) will contest a total of three individual events, as he has the second best individual qualifying average on both the rings (14.880) and pommel horse (14.010) and brings the fourth-best individual qualifying score on the parallel bars (13.630).

Sophomore Andy Hunter (Tallahassee, Fla.) will join Prim in competing on the parallel bars, as he averages of 14.030 is sec-ond nationally among individual qualifiers. Hunter, along with senior Richard Pearson (Baton Rouge, La.), will also join Prim on the pommel event, as Pearsonís season pommel average (13.990) is third among individuals, while Hunterís (13.810) is fifth.

The Tribe also has a pair of individuals qualified to compete on the floor exercise, as junior Josh Fried (Gwynedd Valley, Pa.) and Chris Valeska (Wexford, Pa.) come into the event with the second (14.450) and fourth (14.040) best season floor averages amongst individual qualifiers.

The NCAAs will put a fitting cap on a season that saw the College collect its 13th United States Gymnastics Collegiate Na-tional Championship and place a solid third at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships.

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