The North Carolina gymnastics team began its season in Durham, N.H. on Friday, defeating the New Hampshire Wildcats by a score of 195.200 to 194.375. Not only did the Tar Heels win, but they also eclipsed their previous record for points scored as a team in a season opener.
North Carolina gradually increased its lead over New Hampshire over the course of the match’s four rotations, each of which was scored out of 50 points.
UNC started the match on the uneven bars, where sophomore Elizabeth Culton led the team with a score of 9.875. The team earned a score of 48.675, and ended the first rotation with a narrow 0.125 point lead over UNH.
The Tar Heels looked to continue their success through their second event: the vault. Junior Emery Summey led North Carolina in the second rotation, besting her previous career-high with a score of 9.850. By the time all five UNC gymnasts had completed their vault routines, the team’s lead had grown to 0.200.
North Carolina showcased its floor routines in the third rotation. This was the only event in which the Wildcats defeated the Tar Heels, albeit by a slim margin of 0.025 points. UNC’s lead still grew after the third rotation however, due to UNH’s score on the beam being lower, as these two events were completed simultaneously. Senior Lily Dean led the way for the Tar Heels on the floor, tying her personal best with a score of 9.875.
Finally, UNC finished the day strongly on the beam, claiming a match-high event score of 48.950. Culton led the team here as well with a near-perfect score of 9.950 on the last routine of the match, which was also the best single event score of the evening.
Who stood out?
Only one Tar Heel, sophomore Brianna Greenlow, competed in all four events, achieving a score of 9.700 or better in each and a total score of 38.900.
Summey appeared in three events, all but floor, and had UNC’s second best score on the beam in addition to having the team’s best score on the uneven bars.
Other outstanding performances from Friday evening included sophomore Hallie Thompson’s 9.825 on the vault, sophomore Hannah Nam’s 9.800 and 9.775 on the uneven bars and beam respectively, and Culton’s 9.850 point floor routine.
When was it decided?
As is often true in gymnastics, no lead is insurmountable, meaning that the Tar Heels had to maintain their focus through all four rotations despite their lead after each. However, it seems that UNC’s 0.675 point lead following the third rotation was too much for UNH to claw back from, with the lead only growing from there.
Why does it matter?
North Carolina’s road record from last season, 3-6, must have been a source of motivation going into this season opener, especially given the fact that COVID-19-imposed cancellations prevented the Tar Heels from improving upon that record in the latter parts of the season. It appears for now that UNC has stemmed the tide here, having won its first away match since defeating New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. in February 2020.
UNC is now 1-0 both overall and in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League as well.
When do they play next?
North Carolina’s next match is slated to take place in Chapel Hill on January 31st against George Washington University, beginning at 2 p.m. in Carmichael Arena.
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