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UNC women's gymnastics defeats Western Michigan, falls short of N.C. State at tri-meet

UNC senior Elizabeth Culton does the bar during UNC's competition against George Washington on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at Carmichael Arena. UNC won 196.325-195.350.

UNC women’s gymnastics came in second place at the N.C. State Tri-Meet, defeating Western Michigan but falling short of conference rival N.C. State.

What happened?

In their second road meet of the season, the Tar Heels started on beam, a difference from the start on vault that they have become accustomed to in their past two consecutive home meets. 

Despite this change, North Carolina had an admiral start at the N.C. State Tri-Meet. The team was led on beam by senior Elizabeth Culton, who put up a 9.825. UNC finished the rotation with a score of 48.825, putting them in second place, .175 behind the Wolfpack.

UNC continued on to floor for the second rotation. The Tar Heels put up three floor routines above a 9.800, but the highlight of the event was a 9.925 by sophomore Julia Knower. North Carolina was heating up, with a 49.000 on floor, but remained in second place by .200 as N.C. State dominated in its home meet.

Vault was up next for North Carolina and resulted in 48.925 team points. The third rotation was characterized by consistency for UNC, who had no score below 9.700 and was led by sophomore Lali Dekanoidze with a 9.850. Heading into the final rotation, North Carolina had its slimmest deficit of the day, just .150 points behind the Wolfpack.

The Tar Heels finished the day off on bars, which usually proves to be their most successful event. In another strong and consistent event, the team proved their expertise in the event. UNC had the highest team bar score of the meet with a 49.225 and were led once again by Dekanoidze with a 9.950.

North Carolina finished  second behind N.C. State. with a 195.975.

Who stood out?

Knower was a significant contributor in the N.C. State Tri-Meet, as she often is due to being UNC’s only all-around competitor. She came third all-around with 39.325 points and led the team on floor.

Culton and Dekanoidze also stood out for the Tar Heels on Saturday, each leading events of their own for UNC to aid in North Carolina’s performance. Dekanoidze had the top bars performance of the meet and was tied for the top vault performance.

When was it decided?

The meet was a battle between all three teams, who remained close enough on the scoreboard at all times for anyone to take the win. However, the Wolfpack stood their ground at home and led following the first three rotations. At that point, it was clear that it would take a strong fourth rotation performance for either UNC or Western Michigan to overtake N.C. State. 

Why does it matter?

UNC came into Saturday’s meet with the momentum of recording its highest score of the year in the win over George Washington last weekend. The team had improved its performance in every meet since the season opener and were looking to continue to do so at Reynolds Coliseum, meaning they needed to put up a score above 196.325. However, for the first time this season, UNC regressed, with a final score of 195.975. N.C. State currently holds the top spot in the EAGL standings, with North Carolina right behind them.

When do they play next?

North Carolina will travel to Durham, New Hampshire next weekend for the EAGL Quad Meet, where the team will attempt to demonstrate its dominance against other teams in conference.


@dthsports |

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