The North Carolina gymnastics team won its first quad meet of the season on Friday night with a score of 194.600, slightly ahead of Towson (194.275), and well above Yale (192.050) and Ursinus (187.425).
UNC started the night off on the uneven bars. Seniors Morgan Lane and Kaitlynn Hedelund both scored a 9.775, while senior Madison Nettles, sophomore Grace Donaghy and Mekyllah Williams all scored a 9.650. This pushed the Tar Heels into first place with a score of 48.500.
North Carolina performed beam in the second rotation. Hedelund kicked the event off with a 9.725 and then first-year Lily Dean followed with a season-high score of 9.650. Lane also scored a 9.800, the highest for the team in the event. The team finished the second rotation 0.075 points shy of first place, just behind Towson.
The third rotation was floor, the team’s favorite and best event. Coming into the meet, the team scored over a 49 in its first two performances in the event. Individually, the gymnasts scores were near perfect, with the lowest score a 9.700 from senior Lauren Weisel and the highest a 9.825 scored by Sophomore Khazia Hislop. Despite the high scores, the team couldn’t break the 49-point barrier, ultimately scoring a 48.900. The Tar Heels pushed to first place with a score of 145.700, holding a 0.125 lead over Towson with one event to go.
UNC finished the night on vault, securing a team total of 48.900. Hislop placed first overall with a score of 9.825, Nettles and Lane scored a 9.800 and sophomore Alexis Allen scored a 9.775. The team’s collective score was enough to secure first place with a 0.325 lead over Towson, who placed second.
Who stood out?
Score-wise, Dean and Hislop had stellar routines. Although Dean’s wasn’t the highest scoring, it was a season-best for her. As for Hislop, unsurprisingly, she placed first for floor and vault with a score of 9.825. Lane placed first for all-around, her first time performing all-around all season, with a score of 39.100.
Although Nettles didn’t score the highest on floor, she had a memorable finish. Once she stuck her landing, the Tar Heel couldn’t help the smile that crept to her face as she threw her head back to signify the end of her routine. As she straightened up to face the cheering crowd, she blew a kiss before running off to her teammates.
When was it decided?
The lower than normal score on floor seemed to put the Tar Heels in jeopardy of a win, despite taking a slight lead heading into the last rotation. The final ranking for the team rested solely on their vault performance and Hislop’s first place finish helped secure the Tar Heel win.
Why does this matter?
During its first quad meet of the season, the Tar Heels showed they have the ability to set a winning record this season as they inched closer to the goal of breaking the 196-point barrier. Despite failing to break that barrier and dropping in score during floor, the team's strongest event, the Tar Heels still won the meet and pushing themsevles into a winning record so far this season.
Where do they play next?
North Carolina will travel to face New Hampshire on Friday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m.
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