UW-Eau Claire gymnastics falls short against UW-Stout

Blugolds start season with three consecutive losses

Sam Janssen

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The Blugolds lost their third straight meet to start the season on the road against UW-Stout.

UW-Eau Claire’s gymnastics team is working on improving their consistency and performance in meets after their third straight loss to start the season, said Jessie DeZiel, UW-Eau Claire’s head coach.


UW-Eau Claire traveled to UW-Stout on Friday, Feb. 4 for the team’s third meet of the season. UW-Eau Claire fell short, losing by a score of 186.3-179.675, despite Blugolds placing in the top three in three events. 


UW-Eau Claire previously lost at home to UW-Oshkosh and on the road at UW-La Crosse to start the season.


DeZiel said the team is hoping to learn from their first few meets and perform more like they practice in future meets.


“We just need to be more consistent at our meets,” DeZiel said. “They’re training really, really well. It’s just transitioning that into a meet when there is a little more pressure.”


Andrea Gessner, a fifth-year gymnast for UW-Eau Claire, got her season high on the vault with a score of 9.435, which earned her second place in the event.


DeZiel said Gessner’s talent and experience as a fifth-year athlete are valuable to the team.


“It’s a joy to watch her vault every single time,” DeZiel said.


Danielle Malecha, a fourth-year gymnast, posted her season high on bars with a score of 9.30, which earned her third place in the event. Lilianna Shank, a third-year gymnast, placed fifth in the event with 9.050.


DeZiel said Malecha and her teammates were excited about her posting her season high score, as one of her main goals in the preseason was to compete in bars in a lineup spot.


“She has worked extremely, extremely hard on bars,” DeZiel said.


Emma Barry, a third-year gymnast, and Bailey Davidson, a fourth-year gymnast, both placed in the top five in the floor routine for the Blugolds, placing third and fourth respectively.


DeZiel said the team rallies around both Barry and Davidson, adding that they both perform their routines well and have great tumbling.


Katie Fahrenkamp, a third-year gymnast for UW-Eau Claire, said the whole team brought a lot of energy and competed well in this event, but could have executed better.


“I think one thing we need to do is if there is a mistake we need to be better at recovering on the next routine and just getting the momentum going again,” Fahrenkamp said.


Fahrenkamp said the team has a good work ethic and is motivated to turn things around and improve their performances.


She also said despite the disappointment of three straight losses to start the year, the gymnasts are still able to have fun as a team.


“We’re all pretty good about Sunday morning getting back into the gym with positive attitudes,” Fahrenkamp said.


She said even though gymnastics is an individual sport, they still rally behind each other as a team and feed off of each other’s performances.


“We all perform individually but it’s the team score that counts. We do build off of each other even though we are out there by ourselves,” Fahrenkamp said.


The Blugolds return to action this Friday, Feb. 11 against Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.


DeZiel said the team is looking forward to competing against Gustavus, whom she deemed as “more at our level” than some of the WIAC opponents they have faced so far this season.


She said they are working hard in practice to prepare the team for the pressure of meets, including by employing tactics like blasting a noisy speaker by the balance beam to try to distract them.


“The main goal right now is to try to get them to compete like they do in the gym,” DeZiel said. “Their training has been amazing the past couple weeks and it’s just getting out there a little bit more and getting the experience of competing.”


Janssen can be reached at [email protected].