By Katie Christ
The Maryland Women’s Gymnastics team tied with George Washington University for first place with a score of 194.925 in a quad-meet against local rivals GW, Towson and William & Mary Friday night at the XFINITY Center in College Park, Md.
Friday’s home meet was the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Meet. The GymTerps traded their traditional leotard for a pink and black one to commemorate those affected by the disease.
“I love that we do the Pink Meet and I love what it means,” coach Brett Nelligan said. “Sometimes with this disease you feel helpless and I think for us being able to put on the pink, it feels like we’re doing something.”
The GymTerps started the meet on the vault, where Dominiquea Trotter, Abbie Epperson, Kathy Tang, and Katy Dodds all scored a 9.800 or higher.
“We got through vault with a really nice score [49.075] and I think they relaxed a bit,” Nelligan said, “that led us to some more confident routines on bars and beam.”
On the uneven bars, five of the GymTerps took home the top scores of the meet. Junior Kathy Tang won the individual title on bars with a 9.800.
“Coming into today’s meet I really had this mindset of proving myself, competing with my heart and competing for not just me, but for my team and for people with breast cancer,” Tang said after the meet.
Maryland then rotated to the balance beam, where sophomore Sarah Faller took the leadoff spot and earned a season high 9.750. On uneven bars, her leadoff score of 9.775 was also a season best.
“It was awesome,” Faller said on her season high scores, “I just really like to have fun out there and I think the more I have fun the better I do.”
“She’s just such a competitor,” Nelligan said of Faller, “we love putting her in that leadoff spot. When Sarah hits that bar routine or that beam routine it really calms the rest of the team down and allows them to go after it.” After Faller’s beam performance, the rest of the lineup put on solid performances, capped off with a score of 9.875 for senior Stephanie Giameo. Giameo is now ranked #19 in the country for her individual beam performance.
After the beam, the GymTerps trailed GW by .100 and headed to the floor exercise. Giameo led off but mistakes in her routine scored her just 9.000. After performing well all night, the GymTerps fell apart on the floor.
“I was shocked,” Nelligan said of his team’s mistakes on the floor. “I think they’re shocked too. Four kids made mistakes on the floor…major mistakes.”
“The thing that hurts the most is not that we didn’t win or that we tied, it’s that we really had a chance to put up a big, big number this week.” Nelligan said. “That 196.000 that we’ve been believing we could achieve, it was right there and we weren’t able to take it.”
The GymTerps highest team score this season is a 195.375 that came last weekend’s meet in Piscataway, N.J.