Setting the bar: Men’s gymnastics on the way to NCAA championships



Sterling Pariza set his personal best on rings at ECAC and qualified for all-around at the NCAA Championships.

by Jenna Prather, News Editor

The Simpson College men’s gymnastics team headed east to compete in their first ever Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships on April 1.

“[The] competition was a good experience for the guys,” Head Men’s Gymnastics Coach Colin Payne said. “Started off pretty strong, struggled late in the meet, unfortunately. Not quite the finish we wanted but [we] ended up with three guys going to NCAA [Championships].”

The qualifiers for the 2023 National Collegiate Men’s Gymnastics Championships are Sterling Pariza and Michelangelo Villani as all-around individuals and Alex Catchpole for parallel bars. The Storm also has three designated alternates: Camden Bontempo is the first alternate for floor and second for vault and Kyle Kincade is the second alternate for still rings.

In addition, 11 members of the team were named to the ECAC All-Academic Team on April 11.

To be eligible for the team, student-athletes must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. First-year student athletes must have gained a 3.0 GPA in the fall semester.

Those earning the title from Simpson were Camden Bontempo, Alex Catchpole, Christopher Duane, Kyle Kincade, Karim Madkour, Sterling Pariza, Charlie Schneider, Sammy Shafransky, Ethan Sipos, Milo Staley and Jake Sweeten.

For a new team, all these accomplishments are impressive, but this is not Payne’s first time at the competition.

“I was the assistant coach over at Naval Academy for four years,” Payne said. “We were always at the conference. We won the conference championships while I was there.”

This year was no different as Navy cruised to its fifth consecutive league title with a score of 394.450. Springfield finished runner-up with a 386.750, William & Mary (383.550) was third and Army (377.650) edged Greenville (376.250) by just over a point for fourth. Simpson rounded out the competition with a 346.650.

The Storm’s highest scoring event was vault, with a 65.750. Camden Bontempo led the way with 13.550, Simpson’s highest individual score of the day in any event. Michelangelo Villani was next with a 13.400, Kyle Kincade and Sterling Pariza both recorded 13.000s and Milo Staley added a 12.800.

Pariza set a personal best on rings with a 12.350. He finished just outside the top 10 on floor with a score of 13.050 and completed the day with an all-around score of 72.450. Villani and Staley also competed in all six events with scores of 68.650 and 64.550, respectively.

Kincade scored 12.450 on parallel bars and Villani on high bar scored 11.400.

“Obviously a little different experience with an incredibly young team than a program like the Naval Academy that’s been around for a long time,” Payne said. “So very different experience that way but the guys did a good job of coming together and working like a team out there. That aspect was pretty much pretty much the same.”

The qualifiers and alternates left Wednesday for the NCAA championships, which will begin on April 14 with two pre-qualifying sessions.

According to the Simpson College Athletics website, three teams and the top three all-around competitors not on one of the qualifying teams, plus the top three individuals on each event not already qualified on a team or as an all-around competitor, will advance into Saturday’s finals session. The top eight competitors in each event during the finals will garner All-America status.