At North Carolina, even the coaches recognize when their athletes have a lot of schoolwork to do. That’s why gymnastics coach Derek Galvin decided to make sure that his team’s No. 1 mission for the week was to survive it.
“Our main focus this week was getting through the week,” Galvin said. “There were a lot of exams and papers and things like that due this week, so we knew that our gymnasts were a little bit fatigued mentally.”
Despite their busy academic schedule, the UNC gymnastics team came through on Friday night and earned a victory against Temple, beating the Owls 194.425-191.150.
UNC led Temple 48.700 to 47.375 after both teams completed their first discipline of the evening. The Tar Heels started off on the vault, where senior Zoya Johnson posted the highest score of all gymnasts with a 9.875. In second place for UNC was senior Morgan Evans, who earned a score of 9.825.
UNC then moved to the uneven bars, where junior Elizabeth Durkac led the team and tied a personal best with a score of 9.850. Sophomores Acacia Cosentino and Emily Cornwell both received scores of 9.750 and set personal bests in the event.
After the second discipline for both teams, UNC increased its lead by 1.4 points at 97.475-95.500.
Durkac went on to post the highest score for UNC in its third discipline, the balance beam. She tied another personal best with a 9.850.
On its final discipline, the floor exercises, UNC received strong marks from the judges and posted the highest team score of any discipline. Evans led the Tar Heels with a 9.850, followed by Durkac and sophomore Kristin Aloi, who tied at 9.800.
Durkac won the meet’s all-around title, setting another personal best with a score of 39.225. Evans took second in the all-around category with a 38.525. Temple’s Katie Canning claimed third with a score of 37.600.
Galvin said he felt like Durkac’s new personal bests were well deserved.
“I’m just so pleased for her,” he said. “She’s constantly looking for ways that she can improve her gymnastics. Her focus in training is excellent. Her focus in competition is excellent. I’m happy to see her having the kind of year that she’s having.”
And Durkac said the team’s reaction to the hard week was key in its win.
“We kept our energy up, which was really good because we had some stuff that we could have gotten down on ourselves on,” she said. “But everyone stayed really positive, and we cheered each other on and supported each other.”
UNC will look to continue its push to a third consecutive EAGL title when the Tar Heels host George Washington in their next meet on Feb. 24.
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