The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

UWEC falls short of First at La Crosse gymnastics meet, but beats out Greenville

Blugold gymnastics receive some of the highest scores of season
Second-year Blugold Emma Loen performing her balance beam routine. (Photo used with permission from Austin Tanner)

UW-Eau Claire took second place out of three at their gymnastics meet on Saturday, Feb. 2, losing out to UW-La Crosse. However, this doesn’t seem to be a setback for the team.

UW-La Crosse scored 193, while Greenville scored 187. The Blugolds narrowly outscored Greenville with 187.3. Gymnastics scores are out of 200, so this is considered high-scoring for a meet.

The gymnastics season began at the start of January and continues weekly until regionals on March 9. If the Blugolds perform well there, they will move on to nationals the weekend of March 23.

Some team members going into the meet thought there were spots to worry about in routines. Third-year Harriet Toth said the performance on the bars to be worth watching.

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“It has been our lowest scoring event for weeks, so every day in the gym we’re working on bars,” Toth said.

Bars happened to be the first event of the night, and the UW-Eau Claire team did not get off to an excellent start, but the momentum quickly shifted.

“This season, we have the phrase ‘fire it up,’ so we pass the torch from one player to the next,” second-year Brooklyn Einck said. “Meghan got a 9.7 [on bars] and that really started to pass it on.” 

Toth said first-years Meghan Dahlin and Linnea Vasali are both worth watching in the future. Dahlin scored a 9.7 on bars and Vasali received a 9.65, earning second and fifth in bars respectively. These scores are personal bests for both of them.

“It’s definitely a team to watch. Meghan and Linnea absolutely killed it,” Toth said. “It was like a breakout meet for the two of them.”

Coach Jessie DeZiel commended Dahlin’s performance on the beams. 

“She’s very consistent on beam, which is not common as a first-year,” DeZiel said. 

The UW-Eau Claire gymnastics team also received a 47.9/50 on their floor score, a season high.

“Individual scores don’t really matter. This was a big meet that showed me ‘hey, we can still come out strong,’” Einck said. “I think everybody’s getting really good. They used to have to ask ‘who can perform the routine right now?’ Now it’s ‘who’s going to hit the best routine?’”

Despite not taking home the gold, the coach and players seem optimistic about the team, how well it is working together and its future.

“They get along super well,” DeZiel said. “Their team chemistry is really awesome. In competitions, it’s a lot more than practice but even during practice, they bring a lot of energy. It just keeps the meet fun and not so tense at competitions.”

“Some of my teammates got their best scores ever,” Toth said. “It was definitely the highlight of the meet.”

DeZiel said this was the team’s best season since she became the UW-Eau Claire gymnastics coach three years ago. She estimates that the team has averaged three to four points higher per meet compared to last year.

Despite this success, the team continues to practice to perform their best at meets.

“We’re really focusing on hitting routines and not having to count any falls,” DeZiel said. “Even if it’s not perfect, staying on the equipment is our goal for the next meet.”

The Blugold gymnastics team will have their second home meet of the season at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9 in the McPhee Physical Education Center. It won’t be one to miss, as the team is excited to show the community how they’re doing.

“It’ll be really cool to show all of our peers what we’ve been working for,” Einck explained. “It really helps to put the ‘student’ in ‘student athlete.’”

Tolbert can be reached at [email protected].

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