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The Daily Tar Heel

This Valentine’s Day, the UNC gymnastics team had a not-so-hot date with the balance beam.

Echoing their struggles from a meet at William & Mary, the Tar Heels hit a rough patch on the balance beam and ultimately fell to Maryland in their first home meet in two years.

“We just weren’t as solid on beam as we have been at practice,” coach Derek Galvin said.

Despite three falls on the beam, the team lost by less than one point and placed in the top spot of each event.

Senior Kara Wright placed first on vault with a score of 9.925 and tied with Elizabeth Durkac for first on uneven bars with a score of 9.825.

Senior Christine Nguyen placed first on the balance beam and floor exercise with scores of 9.825 and 9.9, respectively.

Galvin was pleased by the Tar Heels’ showing in the floor exercise.

“We broke 49 (points) as a team,” he said. “Any time you do that, it’s a very good thing.”

After starting the competition with a less-than-perfect score on vault, Nguyen had a strong performance and took the top All-Around spot.

Nguyen’s strong showing included a new tumbling pass in her floor routine.

“Christine did her double Arabian on floor,” Galvin said. “She and Kara just added that to their routines this week.

“I know Christine was a little nervous, but she did a great floor routine.”

Freshman Michelle Ikoma, who competed on the vault and floor against William & Mary on Jan. 24, joined the team’s lineup on balance beam. But it was the floor exercise she was most excited about.

“Floor was awesome,” she said. “You felt the energy of the crowd and your teammates. I’m normally really tired before my last pass, but I just knew that I could do it.”

Wright said she was happy about the team’s return to Carmichael Arena this year.

“It’s awesome competing at home again and having the support of your home crowd,” she said.

Galvin said the crowd in the Carmichael Arena — more than 2,000 were in attendance — was probably the largest he had seen of any home meet.

This year, the team partnered with UNC’s Get REAL & HEEL, a program that raises awareness for breast cancer and helps survivors.

The crowd wore pink in honor of the partnership, and a cancer awareness fair was held before the meet.

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