Competing in its second away meet of the season, the No. 25 North Carolina gymnastics team (7-5, 4-1 ACC) finished with a final score of 195.325, which secured second place at the Alabama Tri Meet in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday night.
The Tar Heels competed against No. 9 Alabama and No. 17 Western Michigan, competing in the vault, floor exercise, balance beam and uneven parallel bars events.
To begin its first rotation, North Carolina started with the balance beam and finished with an impressive score of 49.050. First-year Julia Knower brought in a score of 9.900, which was the highest score across the UNC team for this event. Although Alabama took a close lead with a total of 49.500 points on the vault and Western Michigan finished with 48.525 on balance beam, the Tar Heels managed to maintain their place in this competition.
UNC then moved on to floor exercise, where they once again performed strongly and brought in 49.050 points for this event. The highest-scoring Tar Heel for this event was junior Bri Greenlow with a score of 9.850, which comes close to her collegiate best of 9.875 on the floor. As Alabama moved on to uneven parallel bars, they were able to stay above North Carolina by a margin of .475, while Western Michigan remained in third place with a total score of 48.525 at the balance beam.
For their third rotation, the Tar Heels collected a total of 48.700 at the vault. Although they were able to remain above Western Michigan, who edged out 49.000 points for their floor exercise rotation, Alabama grew their lead even more after they received 49.475 points for their performances on balance beam.
To end the meet, North Carolina advanced to the uneven parallel bars and had a total of 48.525 points for this rotation. First-year Lali Dekanoidze had the highest score out of all of the Tar Heels in this event with an amazing 9.850 points awarded. Western Michigan collected a total of 48.825 points on vault and Alabama finished the meet off with strong floor exercise performances, receiving 49.425 points. Behind the Crimson Tide, who won the meet and scored a total of 197.875 points, UNC came in second place with 195.325 points, while Western Michigan came in third with 194.875 points.
Who stood out?
Knower brought outstanding performances in more events than one. With a spectacular score of 9.900 on the balance beam, one of the highest of the meet, and a 9.850 on the floor, she was able to finish with a total of 39.025 all-around points for North Carolina.
When was it decided?
Throughout the entire meet, all three teams were neck and neck with their total scores, so the meet was not decided until the very last rotation. During the third rotation, North Carolina fell short and earned 48.700 on vault, which put them just far enough behind the Crimson Tide. Nevertheless, the Tar Heels ended up only 2.55 points below Alabama and beat Western Michigan by a slim 0.45.
Why does it matter?
While they may have failed to overcome Alabama in this meet, North Carolina fought hard for second place and overcame Western Michigan, even as the underdogs. With this being their second meet on the road this season, the Tar Heels showed several areas of growth since their first away meet at the Rutgers Quad Meet last month, but now know the areas that they need to improve in for future competition.
When do they play next?
After competing on the road, the Tar Heels will come back home to Carmichael Arena to face fellow EAGL conference opponent Temple at 5:15 p.m on Feb. 12.
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