The North Carolina gymnastics team traveled to Kentucky for a Friday night showdown and finished in second place with an overall score of 194.625 in a quad meet against N.C. State, Lindenwood and No. 11 Kentucky.
UNC started out its first quad meet of the season with the team’s favorite exercise: floor.
The Tar Heels exceeded last week’s score despite scores of 9.700 from junior Lily Dean and senior Jamie Antinori. But thanks to seniors Khazia Hislop and Mikayla Robinson’s scores of 9.875 and 9.850 respectively, the Tar Heels finished the first rotation in second place while Kentucky held the lead with a team score of 49.075 on vault.
For the second rotation, UNC took on vault and ended with a team score of 48.950. Senior Alexis Allen’s score of 9.875 landed her in a three-way tie for first place in the event. By the end of the second rotation, North Carolina had taken the lead with a score of 97.875 while Kentucky trailed closely behind with a 97.700. Lindenwood was in third with a score of 97.150 and NC State was last at 97.025.
Bars seemed to be UNC’s biggest struggle on Friday night, as it finished with a team score of 47.750. First-year Sophie Silverstein’s score of 8.850 seemed to seal North Carolina’s fate even though first-year Elizabeth Culton and sophomore Drew Aldridge finished with scores of 9.800 and 9.750, respectively. Byt the end of the third rotation, UNC had dropped down to third.
Beam was UNC’s highest rotation score at 48.975 thanks to first-year Hannah Nam, Hislop and Culton. They finished with scores of 9.800, 9.875 and 9.900, respectively. Culton came in second for this event.
UNC finished in second, falling short to Kentucky (196.375), but beating N.C. State (194.425) and Lindenwood (193.300).
Who stood out?
Culton and Hislop continued to dominate for North Carolina. Both gymnasts earned EAGL honors after their week one performance against William & Mary. Hislop was named Specialist of the Week and Culton was named Rookie of the Week.
Over the course of 21 consecutive meets, Hislop has been averaging at or above a score of 9.850 on floor, which dates back to 2018. The senior was also named Specialist of the Week for six consecutive weeks during the 2019 season.
As for Culton, she improved her beam performance from last week when she scored a 9.675. This week, she led UNC with a commanding 9.900. While Culton finished fourth in the all-around competition, her consistent scores over her last two collegiate meets should not be overlooked.
When was it decided?
Because of Silverstein’s 8.850 on beam and less than stellar performances from her teammates in the same event, the balance beam determined UNC’s fate for the evening. It dropped the Tar Heels from first to third before they clawed back to finish second among the four teams.
Why does it matter?
After having one of their most impressive season openers in over a decade last weekend, the Tar Heels had a lot to prove in their first quad meet, which featured one of their rivals and a top-15 team. They were able to place a respectable second and will continue to build on that finish moving forward in 2020.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels return home to host Pittsburgh next Saturday for their first EAGL meet of the season.
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