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Filed under Sports

Blugold gymnasts finish strong at national competition

In the last competition of the season, the UW-Eau Claire women’s gymnastics team took fifth place in the team competition of the 2013 National Collegiate Gymnastics Association Championship March 22 at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Four of the women also ended the second day of the meet with All-American honors.

Ali McDowell, the student assistant coach, said the girls were full of emotions going into the competition.

“They were really excited and kind of nervous I guess,” she said. “And since we did so well at regionals, I think they had a lot of pressure on themselves going in, but their main goal was just to have fun because it was the last meet of the season so whatever happened, happened.”

The first day of competition included the team competition and the all-around competition. Senior Danielle Schulzetenberg took ninth place in the all-around competition, giving her All-American honors for the fourth time in her career.  She finished with 36.475 points.

The second day of competition consisted of the top 12 in each event on Friday’s competition competing in event finals in their respective events.

Schulzetenberg said one of the highlights at the meet was when her teammate Rachel Behmer completed her bar routine.

“She had been struggling with her wrists all season and she threw in a new skill and she hit her bar routine and everybody started crying,” Schulzetenberg said.

Behmer moved on to the second day of competition, where she tied for third place in uneven parallel bars to receive first team All-American honors.  She had a career-high score of 9.625.

Junior Michaela McCamey  also finished with a third place tie in the balance beam. She received first team All-American honors and a score of 9.500.

Julia Stedman took seventh place on vault and received second team All-American honors.  She had a score of 9.500. Cece Solem, a senior, also competed on vault and finished in fifteenth place with 8.675 points.

A big moment from the weekend competition was when the team broke the school record for the team on vault, Schulzetenberg said. The previous record, which was set in 2011, was 47.125 points.  The Blugolds set a new record of 47.775 points on vault on the first day of the competition.

“This team was super talented and we knew we could do it,” Schulzetenberg said.

She said everyone on the team worked really hard at the meet and they had a lot of fun.

“There was a lot of good routines going on,” she said. “We didn’t stop fighting through the whole meet.  We had rough routines here and there but no one gave up.”

The NCGA Championship completed the season for the Blugolds, but McDowell said open gym already starts next week and the girls are already gearing up for next season.

“Right after nationals, right on the bus (the team) was saying ‘we are going to break this streak of getting fifth’ because we have gotten fifth the past two years,” McDowell said. “So I think they are really excited and our freshmen class this year is awesome and I think will make a huge impact next year.”

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