The UNC Gymnastics team narrowly escaped with the win at the “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” UNC quad meet in Carmichael Arena against EAGL Conference opponents Pitt and Towson with a team score of 196.000.
The Tar Heels started on vault for their first rotation, just as they did last weekend at the first UNC quad meet. Senior Emery Summey kicked things off for the night with a 9.750. The highest score of the rotation was a 9.900 by first-year No. 36 Lali Dekanoidze, and UNC finished vault with 48.675 points — landing the team in second place, just .475 points behind Towson.
The Tar Heels then advanced to bars, which began with a 9.725 performance from sophomore Jamie Shearer. After a fall in her exhibition vault routine, junior Sophie Silverstein redeemed herself with her first counted score by matching Shearer’s. UNC had a strong, consistent performance on bars, with junior all-American Elizabeth Culton leading with a 9.8500. Together, the gymnasts accumulated 48.975 points in their second rotation for a total of 97.650 points, reducing the gap with first-place Towson to .175 points.
North Carolina entered the second half of the meet with beam. Summey started off the rotation with a routine that was clean from start to finish, resulting in a 9.825 score. Though Shearer struggled in her performance, the team continued its overall solid performances, led by first-year Julia Knower with a score of 9.875. This was the team’s best rotation yet with 49.125 total points. However, it still wasn’t enough to overtake Towson, who led by .150 at the end of the third rotation.
UNC had its opportunity to take the lead in the last rotation, floor. Junior Hannah Nam made this seem like a possibility when she began floor for the team with a 9.800. Similar scores followed, including a notable 9.900 for Knower. Towson showed out for its final rotation at bar as well, but UNC was able to pull ahead to win by .025 with 196.000 total points.
Who stood out?
Dekanoidze was a strong contributor to North Carolina from the start of the meet. Her 9.900 served as the highest vault score for the team, and she showed up for her team once again on bars with the second-best team score of 9.825. Dekanoidze performed no different on beam with a 9.850. She finished the meet with a 9.825 in floor.
Knower remained a strong competitor throughout the entirety of the meet as well. On vault, she and Summey tied for the second-highest score on the team with a 9.750. She went on to put up 9.800 points on bar. Knower’s focus and strong landing on beam did not go unnoticed by judges, resulting in a 9.875 to lead her team in the event. Knower led the team in floor as well, scoring a 9.900.
Dekanoidze was tonight’s high-scorer with 39.400 points and Knower was second with 39.325.
When was it decided?
UNC and Towson quickly proved that this meet would be a fight to the finish. Both teams showed up ready to compete and provided strong performances across the board that made their overall score difference never exceed .475 points. The gap became smaller with each rotation. Going into the final event, Towson only led by .150, making it hard to determine the outcome of this meet. Both teams maintained their level of competition in their final rotation, but the Tar Heels’ undying energy and clean performances allowed them to walk away with the win.
Why does it matter?
Tonight’s meet was the first for UNC this season to feature only EAGL conference opponents. UNC is currently fifth in EAGL standings, with Towson in second and Pitt right behind the Tar Heels in sixth. This matchup served as a chance for North Carolina to advance its position in the standings and prove itself at home. The Tar Heels' consistent performances at Carmichael Arena so far this season have shown their ability to fiercely compete with EAGL opponents.
When do they play next?
After enjoying two successful home meets, the Tar Heels will hit the road this week for the Alabama Tri Meet on Friday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m.
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