The weather outside Carmichael Arena was cold and miserable, but in the final event of a meet against N.C. State Friday night, the North Carolina gymnastics team was anything but.
UNC barely lost to the Wolfpack in Raleigh last weekend but got revenge this weekend, edging out N.C. State 195.050 to 194.875.
Coach Derek Galvin said the team’s meet last weekend gave the Tar Heels motivation for the rematch at home.
“Our goal coming into this meet was to try and build on the performances that we had last weekend,” Galvin said.
But through the first three events of the night, it looked as though North Carolina would be repeating its performance from last week. N.C. State was ahead 146.700 to 146.150 going into the final events — the beam for N.C. State and the floor for UNC.
North Carolina’s first gymnast to compete, redshirt junior Meredith Magjuka, fell down while attempting to land, but that and other early mishaps did not deter the Tar Heels.
“We know that she gave it her all,” sophomore Haley Watts said. “So we just fed off of her energy and just picked it up from there.”
The Tar Heels were more energized in their second event, notching a 49.025 on bars — one of their highest event scores of the season.
But UNC still had some catching up to do on the floor exercise, and senior Elizabeth Durkac quickly realized the gravity of the situation.
“It was the last event, and it was our last chance to prove ourselves as a team,” Durkac said. “This was it for the meet.”
The six UNC gymnasts who competed on the floor exercise all scored a 9.750 or above. But N.C. State still seemed to be in control of the meet with a solid performance on the beam until the Wolfpack’s fourth gymnast competing, Lane Jarred, fell off of the beam during her routine.
While six gymnasts compete in each event, only the best five scores count, so N.C. State could have dropped Jarred’s low score of 9.225. But when N.C. State’s Rachel Fincham fell off the beam twice in her routine to score an 8.650, the Wolfpack had no option but to count Jarred’s score.
On top of N.C. State’s setbacks on the beam, North Carolina’s solid performance on floor was enough to push UNC ahead for a victory.
But Watts said N.C. State’s misfortunes had no effect on the Tar Heels’ attitude during the meet, and their objective never changed.
“No matter the outcome, we just wanted to come in and give it our all and just feel good about ourselves,” Watts said.
Galvin said a large home crowd gave UNC the extra momentum it needed to pull off the win.
“Regardless of the score, the team wanted to go out and put on a show — perform for the crowd,” Galvin said.
“And that’s what they did. And when they do that, when they free themselves up to just go out and perform, good things can happen.”
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