If only the North Carolina gymnastics team's final event had taken place on the dance floor and not the spring floor.
After the East Atlantic Gymnastics League Championships on Saturday a stunned UNC team awaited awards.
The Tar Heels had marched out after the third event in first place. Then they lurched out after the final event floor exercise" in third.
""We had a great start"" coach Derek Galvin said. We got to floor and just ran into problems.""
As her team waited"" freshman Zoya Johnson received an opportunity to boost her team's morale.
""The announcer had seen me dance" Johnson said. He gave me the nickname Zoya ‘Smack That' Johnson. So yeah" he called me out.""
With that" the announcer initiated an impromptu dance off" which led to Johnson's first-place finish for UNC.
""It gets everybody's spirits up for a little bit"" Johnson said. I just wanted to dance.""
Now the Tar Heels are hoping their 194.825 score at Raleigh will be enough to secure a ticket to another big dance — the NCAA Tournament.
The championship score will contribute to the team's regional qualifying score" which will be considered by a selection committee.
Bids will be announced today" and Galvin said he is confident about the team's chances to qualify.
""Hopefully this score will give us what we need to qualify for NCAAs"" Galvin said. We're ready to see what we can do there.""
In Saturday's championships" UNC led off with their strongest vault all season with a 49.050 score.
They followed up with solid performances on uneven bars and balance beam — enough to lead N.C. State going into the final event.
In the preseason seniors Rachel Schneider and Jennifer Valby had set winning the EAGL Championships as their main goal.
Things seemed to be going according to plan.
Before the final event" Schneider urged her teammates to hold on to their first-place standing.
""She was just saying" ‘We do this every day in practice. Be confident"'"" junior Kara Wright said. ""But I think our nerves got to us.""
The team's performance in the floor exercise was riddled with undisciplined falls and out of bounds penalties.
Even junior Christine Nguyen" EAGL Gymnast of the Year for the second consecutive year" suffered an uncharacteristic near-fall on the floor.
""It was really upsetting" Schneider said. Going in we had it. And on floor" you just don't think things will go wrong.""
Wright anchored the Tar Heels" adding a strong floor performance to her day's repertoire. She placed second in the all-around competition with a score of 39.175.
When the judges finally verified scores UNC finished third behind N.C State and West Virginia.
Wright was awarded the team's third-place trophy — a small replica of an eagle.
She turned to give it to Schneider" who politely shook her head.
""I thought the seniors deserved to hoist it"" Wright said. But she didn't want the third-place trophy.""
Now the team is awaiting the chance to hoist another.
""We're disappointed"" Schneider said. But now we have more information to be competitive in two weeks at regionals. We're ready to fight.""
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