The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday March 24th

UNC gymnastics team breaks losing streak

After tough losses against Maryland and Penn State, the North Carolina gymnastics team bounced back by recording a season-high 195.650 points in its victory against Pittsburgh on Sunday, which coach Derek Galvin attributed to one factor — confidence.

“They’ve had more opportunities to train their routines, we focused on things that help you maintain balance, things that help you create more power,” Galvin said. “Going through those things in practice, they knew they were ready.”

Junior Zoya Johnson finished first in both vault and uneven parallel bars with scores of 9.825.

“In practice we’ve just been focusing on confidence, trying to bring everything that we do in the separate meets all together.” Johnson said.

Junior Krista Jasper performed exceptionally, contributing an all-around score of 39.050, her first score above 39 in her college career. Jasper placed second trailing only junior Morgan Evans, who scored 39.225 behind a strong second half of the meet on beam and floor exercise.

“When I go up I just relax, and I don’t regret anything,” Evans said. “I just take one skill at a time, and I don’t let anything distract me.”

Also contributing was freshman Kristin Aloi, who received the highest single-event score with a 9.875 in the floor exercise.

Solid performances from faces both familiar and new this season proved that the Tar Heels are getting closer to Galvin’s goal of achieving more depth in each event.

The Tar Heels improved dramatically on the beam, an event which had haunted the team in previous losses, beating their season-best by .5 with a team score of 48.975

“We’ve been sort of tweaking the beam lineup, and we’ve got a top eight now, and we’ll draw the six from that top eight,” Galvin said.

Though the mid-season losses have hampered the Tar Heels’ confidence, Galvin believes in their ability to build off Sunday’s win in the season’s final dual meets.

“The last couple years we’ve been a strong second-half team,” Galvin said. “The second half of the season is where we start to show what we’re really capable of doing.”

North Carolina has three remaining matches to end the season, two of which are on the road, before participating in the EAGL Championships. That tournament will determine which team members will represent North Carolina at nationals, and if the Tar Heels as a team will have a chance at the national title.

“Ultimately the goal this year is to make it to nationals as a team, and we have the talent, the numbers, we have everything we need to go there,” Johnson said. “I think it will be a goal we fulfill.”

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