The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday March 24th

UNC gymnastics hold on late to topple Towson

With only the balance beam left, the Tar Heels remained focused for one of gymnastics’ most difficult events, while Towson competed in the floor events.

“Typically floor is going to score a little bit higher than beam,” Coach Derek Galvin said.

But the Tar Heels didn’t even think about the pressure as they turned in a first-, second- and fourth-place finish in the event. Galvin said the team changed the lineup for senior Haley Watts to compete first.

“We needed to get a strong leadoff person on that event, someone who could score fairly well,” Galvin said. “Haley did exactly what we had hoped.”

She finished fourth in the event and second all-around, her poise on the beam spreading to the rest of the team.

“I never let any negative thoughts cross my mind,” Watts said.

UNC didn’t let their lead slip and defeated Towson, who beat the Tar Heels in their last home meet last season.

And to make it that much sweeter, UNC’s 195.350 points is a season high and the first time the team reached 195 points since March 10, 2013.

Galvin said it was the first meet of the season where the team performed well in both the uneven parallel bars and the balance beam.

“We had our best team bar performance in several years,” he said. “In a way, it was kind of a breakthrough meet for us on those two events.”

Throughout the meet, the gymnasts focused on acting the same way they do at practice, where there are no judges, no cameras and no noise.

“We kind of kept the same drill that we do in practice all the time,” freshman Morgan Lane said. “We tried to remain calm and normal. We had a few messups here and there, but you never would have known because we kept going.”

Lane won the all-around performance but said the team competition was the more exciting element of the meet.

“The highlight was definitely just the excitement that there was as a team because we were doing so well after every routine that we hit,” she said. “There was a ton of energy.”

UNC has improved in each of its meets this season, which Galvin credited to growing physical and mental strength.

“That’s not always going to be a rising line. There’s gonna be some bumps and bruises along the way. I feel that with the team this year, if we do have any setbacks, it’ll only be a momentary thing,” he said. “They’re a pretty strong group.”


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