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Filed under Sports

Tennessee trip a success

The Blugolds gymnastics team placed first at the Ozone Collegiate Invitational in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday.

With a score of 184.600, the UW-Eau Claire women finished .325 points ahead of Centenary College (La.). UW-Oshkosh finished third and UW-Stout came in fourth.

Freshman Kellie Dougherty said the Blugolds weren’t paying close attention to the other teams during the meet so it was a surprise and very exciting when the results were announced.

Centenary recently switched to Div. III so Dougherty said Eau Claire had expected tough competition from them.

Coach Jean De Lisle credited the all-around success to the women’s ability to have mental control of their routines, as well as physical control.

“It’s nice to beat your conference competitors … to come out ahead of (Centenary) is pretty inspiring,” De Lisle said. “Physically they have worked hard and now they are really trying to get their mindset to the right place.”

Senior Olivia Aschenbrenner said the Blugolds knew they were capable of beating Centenary but had to bring their best routines. Aschenbrenner finished first overall on the Balance Beam with a score of 9.650.

“After I finished the routine, I knew it was a good one,” Aschenbrenner said. “It was the best routine I’ve done this year.”

Aschenbrenner said she was especially proud because all of the Blugolds had great routines and no one fell off the beam. Senior Cece Solem took fifth place with 9.500 and junior Michaela McCamey and senior Danielle Schulzetenberg tied for sixth at 9.325.

De Lisle said it was the first time this season, and in the past few years, that no one has fallen off the beam. The beam was the first event at the invite and the women started the momentum which carried throughout the whole meet.
Solem scored a career-high 9.525 on floor exercise, good enough for second place.

Dougherty took fifth place for Uneven Parallel Bars with a score of 9.075 , the top scorer for Eau Claire. She said she was satisfied with her bars routine but is always looking for improvement.

Dougherty said there isn’t any competition within the team because the end goal is for the team’s success, not individual success.

Doughert said finishing first at the Ozone Invite solidified in the Blugold’s competition’s minds that Eau Claire’s success is not a fluke and they are a “force to be reckoned with.”

This was the Blugold’s second first place finish after taking first at the Eau Claire Invitational earlier this month against La Crosse.

“I think this meet was definitely a confidence booster,” Dougherty said. “We beat UW-La Crosse before in the previous meet. Other teams were kind of talking … we proved that it wasn’t a fluke and Eau Claire is a good team.”

The Blugolds return to competition at home against Stout Jan. 29. De Lisle said even with the finishes in Knoxville,  they are not expecting an easy meet against UW-Stout. De Lisle said Eau Claire is going to continue focus on their side of the competition and is looking forward to the meet.

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