The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday March 24th

Gymnasts rebound against George Washington

Elizabeth Durkac, Senior from Yorktown, Va. 

UNC Gymnastics v. George Washington and William & Mary
Buy Photos Elizabeth Durkac, Senior from Yorktown, Va. UNC Gymnastics v. George Washington and William & Mary

The last time the North Carolina gymnastics team competed against George Washington, coach Derek Galvin said his team needed to fix its mistakes and build endurance and confidence.

That was nine days ago.

With another week of training under his team’s belt, Galvin was hoping for a stronger performance from his young team this weekend.

On Sunday, the Tar Heels took on George Washington, along with William & Mary.

“We had a stronger meet overall than we had last week. I felt that our gymnasts competed with a little more confidence,” Galvin said of his team’s performance in its second meet of the season — and against George Washington.

“Everybody on the team expected that, and the team brought the energy and the enthusiasm and the confidence to do that.”

UNC’s senior co-captain Elizabeth Durkac led all performers with an all-around score of 39.3. Galvin said Durkac is one of the most consistent competitors in the history of UNC’s gymnastics program.

“She is somebody that competes with confidence every time she steps out in the arena,” Galvin said. “She’s very, very even-keeled.

“Elizabeth handles victory in a very classy way, and when things don’t go quite the way she wants them to, she handles that in a very graceful and elegant way as well.”

Durkac took first place in the vault and uneven parallel bars with scores of 9.8 and 9.85, respectively. She also clinched second place in both the balance beam and floor exercise with a score of 9.825 for each.

But as rewarding as her individual finish was, the senior was more satisfied with her team’s first place finish and redemption against George Washington, who defeated the Tar Heels by less than half a point last week.

“I’m more happy that the team got first of course,” Durkac said. “I wasn’t going for first place all-around, I was just helping the team on every event, and I’m really glad that we had a better meet than last weekend. It shows more of who we are as a team.”

Also placing were freshmen Sarah Peterson and Lexi Cappalli on vault, sophomore Emily Cornwell on uneven parallel bars, and Michelle Ikoma and Haley Watts on the floor exercise — all of whom claimed third place in their events.

Cappalli, one of two UNC freshmen to compete in all four events, said competing in every event is a weighty responsibility, but one that she embraces.

She added that the pressure eases with nearly 3,000 roaring fans in the background.

“The first meet — yes, it was fun, it was great,” she said. “But having the entire crowd behind you, it’s incredible. I’ve never had that feeling before.”

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