By Katie Christ
The Maryland Gymnastics team won their final home meet of the season Sunday afternoon with a season high score of 196.000 in a quad-meet against William & Mary, Bridgeport, and Southern Connecticut in College Park, Md.
The meet was the annual Senior Day and seven graduating seniors on the team were honored. Katy Dodds, Stephanie Giameo, Dani Kram, Shannon Skochko, Karen Tang, Ebony Walters, and student assistant Nicole Wright were all honored after the meet for their contributions to the team.
“I can’t say enough about this group of seven and what they’ve meant to me personally and what they’ve meant to the program,” coach Brett Nelligan said. “We’re really going to miss them.”
The meet began for the GymTerps on the vault with a team total of 49.000. Katy Dodds, Shannon Skochko, junior Kathy Tang, and freshman Dominiquea Trotter all posted scores of 9.800 or higher.
Kathy Tang, whose older sister Karen is a senior, was inspired by the success of the senior girls on Sunday afternoon, “we look up to them so much and watching them compete with their hearts out and with that fire, I think it lifts us up.”
The GymTerps then rotated to the uneven bars, where a team score of 49.250 was not only a season best, but also became the fifth best team score on bars in Maryland’s history.
“Right before we started competing [on bars] I just said lets make a moment, lets make a memory for our seniors, lets do something special,” Nelligan said, “and they jumped on board and it was just hit after hit, stick after stick, and the scores just started flying.”
Sophomore Sarah Faller began the rotation with a routine that earned a personal best score of 9.850. Freshman Evelyn Nee and Kathy Tang also earned personal bests with a 9.825 and a 9.875 respectively. Karen Tang and freshman Abbie Epperson’s scores of 9.850 additionally contributed to the GymTerp’s historic team score on bars.
On the beam, Stephanie Giameo gave her final performance at home and her dominance on beam continued, resulting in a first place score of 9.850.
Going into the final rotation on the floor, the GymTerps knew they would need to have a strong performance in order to earn the 196.000.
“I asked them three questions,” Nelligan said. “Whose floor is this? Whose house is this? Whose night is this? They were so pumped up and I just said go out and have fun, get the crowd into it, get your teammates into it and just enjoy the moment.”
The senior girls stole the show on floor. Stephanie Giameo put down a 9.800 and Karen Tang’s routine earned a 9.825. Ebony Walters was last to go and with a 9.950 needed to earn a 196.000, Walters had to put on the best performance of her life. With her entire family watching in the crowd, Walters delivered and scored a personal best 9.950, giving the GymTerps a final score of 196.000.
“I couldn’t have asked for a greater ending here in the Xfinity Center.” Walters said. “I got my career highest of a 9.950 and it was just so exciting, everyone was just so happy. We knew we got the 196.000 and it was just great.”
“You can’t script a better way to end your career at home,” Nelligan said, “we looked at the scores and we knew she needed a 9.950 and to see it happen like that, I’m just so happy for her, her whole family in the crowd, it was an unbelievable night.”