Friday the 13th means bad luck for Blugolds on beam

David Taintor

The UW-Eau Claire gymnastics team fell for the second time this season to UW-Oshkosh at McPhee Center Friday night with a score of 173.275, about 5 points below their conference rivals.

The team came away from the dual meet with two first-place finishes on vault and the uneven bars. Senior Anna Sutherland grabbed one of the first-place finishes with a season-high score of 9.400 on vault and junior Samantha Howard tied with a gymnast from Oshkosh to take the other first-place finish with a score of 9.025.

The team opened up the home meet with this season’s strongest event – vault. Head coach Jean DeLisle said the team’s performance was expected.

“It was pretty comparable,” she said.

Sutherland said Friday night’s performances were probably close to the best vaults of the season for the competitors.

“It was a really good opener for the meet,” she said. “It gave us a lot of momentum to get going.”

The team followed up on the uneven bars with success and some strong routines, DeLisle said. However, the team still falls more than she would like to see.

A previous goal for the team was to improve their start values for the events, which, DeLisle said, has been successful.

“We’re definitely doing what we need to in trying to get our start values up, but then we’re giving it back away when we constantly fall,” she said.

The meet fell apart when the team moved on to balance beam. Of the six Lady ‘Golds that competed in this event, none of them were able to stick their routine, and all had at least one fall.

“That’s where we need to focus our attention and get it to where they can compete their skills and stay on,” DeLisle said. “They do in practice, so I don’t know if it’s nerves . that’s somewhere where we are obviously lacking when we’re giving away three to four points on one event alone.”

She added those lost points are difficult to make up in the other events, but the team will continue to work on it.

Sutherland agreed that the team’s performance on the balance beam showed them that they need to go back to work.

“We know . we need to work more routines with more consistent sticks because at this point, beam is our struggle,” she said.

While it did put a damper on their performance, Sutherland said they were able to regroup and pick up after beam and move on to floor.

DeLisle described the final event of the evening – floor – as fine and said that was due to some of the gymnasts not throwing all of their skills into their routines.

Despite this, DeLisle said there were some wonderful routines among the final two events, but overall, she and the team want more.

“They’re definitely capable of that,” she said. “We just still have not put a full meet together. It’s got to happen.”

There are only a few meets left for the team this season, DeLisle said, but she is still hopeful.

“This Eau Claire team is still better than what they’re showing,” she said. “I still feel it; I still think the girls think it.”