The North Carolina gymnastics team’s ultimate goal of qualifying for the NCAA championships this spring was brought into sharper focus after Friday’s convincing victory over George Washington in Carmichael Arena.
The Tar Heels picked up a season-high overall score in the 195.725-192.525 win.
“I was very pleased for the athletes,” coach Derek Galvin said. “They’ve been working hard all season long, and we felt like they were primed for a strong meet.”
A trio of upperclassmen turned in outstanding performances.
Junior Elizabeth Durkac took first place in the all-around with a personal-best score of 39.275, senior Morgan Evans placed second in the all-around and first on vault and senior Zoya Johnson topped her personal-best score on the uneven bars to claim first place in the event.
“It felt amazing,” Johnson said of her bars routine. “Especially since the past couple meets I’ve been doing fluke things after setting up really good first halves on bars. It was really nice to make up for my vault, and it’s always nice to do well for the team.”
The Tar Heels have scored better than 194 points in their last three meets after falling short of that mark in their first three meets.
“We’re starting to peak now at the perfect time of the season, so it makes me really optimistic for where we want to be at the end of the season,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to go to nationals this year, and I think it’s feasible.”
If the Tar Heels reach that goal, it will have a lot to do with the team’s unity.
“The cohesiveness within this group is exceptional,” Galvin said. “We’ve had some other teams that have had that, but this year’s team is enjoying the fact that they know they can count on each other. They know that they’ve got each other’s support, and it’s great to step out if you’re a little bit nervous and you know that you’ve got a whole team behind you.”
With three meets left before the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Championships on March 24, the Tar Heels know they still have work to do.
“If every single member of the team is invested in what we’re doing, we know we’re going to do well,” Galvin said. “Whether it’s going to be enough to beat teams that are ranked higher than us, that remains to be seen.”
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