Gymnastics is a sport of little things.
Small point deductions. Tiny wobbles. Toes stepping outside the lines.
And although the North Carolina gymnastics team came in third with a score of 193.400 on Saturday — defeating Pittsburgh (193.350), but beating Bowling Green State (194.800) and N.C. State (194.900) — it’s the little things that matter to UNC's gymnasts.
And since their previous meet against George Washington a week ago, the Tar Heels have improved on a lot of little things
Saturday, though, the little things just weren’t enough. Small injuries and small miscues prevented North Carolina from winning the quad meet at Carmichael Arena.
The Tar Heels started out strong on the vault, even without sophomore Kaitlynn Hedelund competing because of a small ankle injury.
“We don’t have as many competitors as we need on each event,” Coach Derek Galvin said. “We only were able to enter five on the vault, but the people we put in there gave us a really good effort.”
A slew of season-best performances on the uneven bars by sophomore Morgan Lane and seniors Josselyn Mackey and Lexi Cappalli brought the Tar Heels within striking distance after the second rotation with a total team score of 96.375.
An impressive 9.800 by Lane allowed her to place fourth in the event, while Mackey and Hedelund — who returned to competition — also placed in the top 10 with scores of 9.750.
But North Carolina came across a little trouble on the balance beam, when a few gymnasts couldn’t quite find their balance. Some wobbles on landings and a Sarah Peterson fall cost the Tar Heels. Lane notched a 9.800 — which allowed her to tie for third place in the event and stay firmly within contention in the all-around competition.
Sophomore Lauren Weisel kicked off the final rotation on the floor exercise with an impressive 9.775, and sophomore Madison Nettles followed that up with a 9.625.
Performing in her third event of the day, Hedelund started a wonderful floor routine, but her ankle gave out on her last pass. She ended up with a 9.125.
Lane finished for the Tar Heels, notching a 9.875 on the floor exercise, solidifying a third-place finish for the Tar Heels.
“The team showed some tenacity again today,” Galvin said. “And that’s what we want to see … We’re hoping to continue to get healthier and to continue to build.”
“It’s always about seeing that you have more potential. So every day that we went back into the gym, we were looking for the little things that we could fix because they add up.” — Lane on her team's preparation heading into the quad meet.
Lane finished with a season-best overall score of 39.150, good enough for third place in the all-around competition.
The Tar Heels host N.C. State and William & Mary in a tri-meet at 7 p.m. on Friday at Carmichael Arena.
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