The North Carolina gymnastics team fell to No. 11 George Washington on Saturday afternoon by a score of 194.950-194.275 in Carmichael Arena. But Coach Derek Galvin was not disappointed.
Saturday's meet saw a flurry of season-best performances for UNC. And Galvin noted that while his team struggled two weeks ago to avoid falls, he saw no falls during Saturday's event.
Senior Sarah Peterson set the tone for the day when she vaulted for a season-best score of 9.800 — giving her a second-place finish among all competitors. Her teammates followed her lead to finish out the first rotation trailing the Colonials by .300 points.
The Tar Heels came across some trouble in the uneven bars when senior Lexi Cappalli lost her grip and fell off the bar, docking her score to a 8.950. But senior Josselyn Mackey and sophomore Morgan Lane followed with season-best scores, and sophomore Kaitlynn Hedelund remained poised through her landing to finish the bars with a score of 9.825.
Hedelund ended up tying for first place with her finish in the uneven bars.
UNC continued executing once it advanced to the balance beam. Sophomore Madison Nettles and Mackey each tumbled into season-best performances. At 9.850, Lane and Peterson tied for first with George Washington sophomores Alex Zois and Liz Pfeiler.
But Galvin said the floor exercise was where his athletes shined the brightest.
Sophomore Lauren Weisel kicked off the floor routines with a season-high scores of 9.600. Cappalli redeemed her earlier fall with an energizing floor performance that the judges awarded with a score of 9.625. Along with Weisel, junior Christina Pheil also earned a season-high score in this rotation.
Outside the stats, Galvin said he enjoyed his team’s energy particularly on the floor, and he believes Saturday's successes have set up UNC to continue to showcase its strength.
“The foundation is set,” Galvin said, “now we need to build from it.”
“It obviously was our best team performance thus far … They showed a lot of tenacity on each of the events. Our last meet, we had a lot of falls. Today we didn’t count a fall, which was a big improvement. People fought for — if they had a wobble, they fought to stay on, whereas last week … we didn’t have that same kind of tenacity. So I was pleased to see that.” — Galvin on his team’s performance.
Nettles achieved a career-high on the vault, and Peterson logged a career-best on the balance beam.
Three numbers that matter
9.825: Lane earned a score of 9.825 on the floor exercise to win that category for North Carolina.
38.625: In her first time competing in the all-around for UNC, Nettles tallied a score of 38.625, which was good for fourth place.
48.725: The Tar Heels' strongest performance was on the balance beam, where they posted a season-high team score of 48.725.
North Carolina will host N.C. State, Pittsburgh and Bowling Green at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Carmichael Arena.
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