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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC gymnastics wins first home meet of the season with triumph over N.C. State

UNC Sophomore Lali Dekanoidze celebrates with her team after scorring a 9.975 on the uneven bars setting a program record during the meet against NC State at Carmichael Arena on Monday Jan. 9, 2023. UNC beat NC State 196.2 to 195.5.

In its home opener against state rival N.C. State, the North Carolina gymnastics team (1-0), clinched a 196.225-195.525 win over the Wolfpack.

What happened?

The Tar Heels began on the vault where first-year Kaya Forbes and second year Lali Dekanoidze ended the rotation on a strong note with impressive vaults that earned them scores of 9.875 and 9.9, respectively. Following the first rotation, UNC trailed by .05 points.

UNC moved to the bars next, where the team put up its strongest performance of the meet. Sophomore Julia Knower’s score of 9.85 and Dekanoidze’s score of 9.975 were enough to push them into the lead, finishing .35 points ahead of the Wolfpack. 

The third rotation saw routines from UNC on the beam and N.C. State on the floor. Knower ended with the team’s highest score of the event by recording a 9.825. Regardless of this being their worst event of the day thus far by scoring a combined 48.775, the Tar Heels maintained their lead over the Wolfpack. 

Going into the final rotation, all three of the top scores were from members of the UNC team. Senior Bri Greenlow delivered a strong floor routine that scored a 9.850, which furthered the gap between the two teams even more. 

Who stood out? 

After securing the two highest scores in the first two rotations out of both teams, Dekanoidze provided an essential push to secure a lead early on for the Tar Heels. She matched her best collegiate score on the vault with a 9.9 and scored a new collegiate best on the bars with a 9.975. 

Knower’s score of 9.875 on the beam, the top beam score of the meet, was crucial in North Carolina maintaining its lead after the third rotation. With a score of 39.40, Knower was the top all-around scorer in the meet. 

When was it decided?

With N.C. State leading after the first rotation before losing the lead just one rotation later, the team slowly closed the gap, which meant the meet wasn't decided until the final rotation. UNC and N.C. State remained neck and neck, after standout performances from Knower and Dekanoidze on the uneven bars, the Tar Heels gained a lead that they would not lose for the remainder of the meet. 

Why does it matter?

After a solid performance at the Super 16 meet where they finished third, this home opener set the scene for a promising start for the Tar Heels and second-year head coach Danna Durante. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will compete again at home on Jan. 23 in the Carolina Tri-Meet, where they will face Yale and UW-Stout. 

@dthsports |

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