Confidence building for UNC gymnasts

With one of the least experienced rosters in recent history, the North Carolina gymnastics team had trouble with confidence in its first meet of the season.

But with one meet out of the way, the Tar Heels feel much more prepared for their upcoming meet against William & Mary and George Washington at Carmichael Arena Sunday.

Aside from being the home opener for the Tar Heels, the meet is also a “pink meet,” an extension of a partnership the team has formed over the years with the “Get Real and Heel” program that helps rehabilitate breast cancer patients.

“I think we were really excited for the first meet,” senior co-captain Maura Masatsugu said. “But now after having that one meet under our belt … it’s going to boost our confidence a whole lot, especially because this is a home meet.”

The Tar Heels placed second in the Lindsey Ferris Invitational with 192.95 points.

Though she was pleased with her team’s performance, redshirt junior Meredith Magjuka said the first meet provided some mental obstacles that affected the team’s performance.

“Our focus was on some of the aspects of competing that don’t necessarily involve hitting a perfect routine — the things that are the foundations of having a good meet and a good competition but may not have reflected in our scores,” she said.

Redshirt junior Michelle Ikoma credited the lack of focus to the timing of the meet.

“Everyone’s a little more nervous for that first meet because it’s the first time you’re competing for a good six or seven months, so you just kind of have to dust off some of the cobwebs,” Ikoma said. “Coming out for the second meet, I think everybody is just a little bit more focused.”

Coach Derek Galvin said that aggressiveness and confidence in routines will be critical to further improvement.

“(Last week) we had some performances that were a little bit tentative because they were trying not to make mistakes,” Galvin said.

“What we have been talking about this week is that we want them to go big. It’s okay to make a mistake if you’re going big — you don’t want to make a mistake because you’re holding back.”

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