Monday, February 6, 2012

Gymnastics stumbles in tri-meet

The BG gymnastics team was marred by inconsistency on uneven bars and balance beam Sunday, falling to host team Maryland (194.475) and North Carolina (193.125).

The Falcons finished in third place with a score of 191.5, led by strong performances from Gina Locigno, Danielle Wishart and Jamilah Ali. Ali tied for first place on beam, hitting a season-high 9.825.

The problems began for BG on the uneven bars, the team's first event. Lacey Swords and Amanda Lievendag both missed key release skills, falling from the bar. Megan Harrington (9.475), Locigno (9.575) and Monica Eaton (9.7) completed their routines to salvage a 46.7 on the apparatus.

"Bars was a rough start," coach Kerrie Beach said. "We're seeing some new athletes getting into the lineup and I think they're adjusting to competition again. We're hoping to see some of the athletes that have been in the lineup get a little more consistent as well."

The troubles continued on beam, where the first performer, Dawn Christman, fell on her first skill: a front tuck mount. Megan Valentini continued her string of solid routines, scoring a 9.425 to get the Falcons back on track. Locigno (9.65) and Wishart (9.7) extended the rally. Harrington suffered a second fall, before Ali's winning routine in the last spot.

Halfway through the competition, the Falcons had dug themselves into a large hole, trailing second-place North Carolina by over a point.

A steady floor exercise lineup did all it could make up the difference, highlighted by Christman's season-high 9.85, good enough for second place on the event. Valentini (9.725), Locigno (9.75) and Harrington (9.775) came through as well, capping off the BG floor lineup, which is still ranked in the nation's top 25.

The Falcons finished up on vault, with Christman (9.775), Wishart (9.775) and Ali (9.825) posting big numbers. The team's final score of 191.5 is its second lowest of the season.

"Today really did not reflect what we've been doing in training," Beach said. "On bars, they've been doing a great job in practice. Some of them seem able to carry that over to the meet and others still seem nervous. We may need to do some more pressure sets in practice. On beam we had some uncharacteristic mistakes but I think we're on the right track there."

The BG gymnastics team is back at home this Saturday for a Mid-American Conference matchup with Northern Illinois. The Falcons lead NIU in the rankings, 191.680-191.370.

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