RALEIGH, NC — Two events in and with a lead at the halfway mark, the North Carolina gymnastics team was cruising in the noisy Reynolds Coliseum, where screaming fans belted out the lyrics to Frozen’s “Let It Go” during a break between events.
The “Frozen”-themed meet didn’t bode quite as well for the Tar Heels as they had hoped, as their momentum froze halfway through the meet. UNC finished in second place with 194.500 points, despite having a chance to get into the 195-range for the second time this season.
“We talked to the team at the end of the meet and said we’ve got to be prepared to take advantage of every opportunity,” Coach Derek Galvin said. “We had an opportunity tonight and let it slip through our fingers.”
After scoring in the 195-range last weekend for the first time in almost two years, the North Carolina women’s gymnastics team was feeling strong going into Saturday’s quad meet against N.C. State, West Virginia and William & Mary.
And as the Tar Heels got going, their momentum picked up as they improved on vault and floor, the two events they had struggled with the previous week.
“We started off really, really strong on vault and floor,” junior Sarah Peterson said. “We had our best vault rotation of the season which was really great.”
Peterson placed second overall and first for UNC in vault with a 9.875 and stuck her landing. She followed that by staying strong through the team’s last event — the balance beam — placing fifth overall with a 9.775.
But the team’s focus had already faded before the last event. For their bars routine, the Tar Heels only managed a 48.425 — their worst of the season after coming off their best.
Peterson said the team struggled to settle in for the event and had a couple of faults it usually didn’t have.
“Little things happened, and I think it got to us. Competing at N.C. State is always hard. It’s loud, it’s big, there’s four teams here,” she said. “And we just need to do a better job of keeping the energy on our team.”
Galvin said his team attributed its struggles on the bars and beams to a lack of intensity.
“What a couple of them said was they felt like last week bars was really strong and beam was really strong, and they knew we needed to focus on floor and on vault to bring them up to the level of bars,” he said. “And what a couple of the gymnasts said was maybe we relaxed a little bit.”
Freshman Morgan Lane, who placed second overall in the meet, thinks the team learned from this meet the importance of staying focused for all four events, regardless of how it performed last weekend.
“I think bars and beam were a lot stronger last weekend, so this weekend we really focused on vault and the floor,” she said. “We just need to make sure we pay as much attention to all four events so we can get them all to go together and do well in everything.”
So unlike Elsa in “Frozen,” the gymnastics team will not be lettering its mistakes go. What it will be doing is learning, moving forward and putting all four events together with intensity for the possibility of a fairy-tale ending type of meet.
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