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

    Gymnasts take fourth place at nationals

    Chris Kemp

    The season continues for senior Alison Eagles, whose seasonal average scores qualify her as an all-around competitor in the Div. I Regional Championships beginning Thursday in Salt Lake City. It is the first time a Blugold gymnast has ever qualified for the tournament, coach Jean De Lisle said. The top qualifiers at that meet can then move onto the Div. I National Championships. Eagles said she is looking forward to be part of such a large event she said.

    “I’m just excited for the experience, to be able to compete with some of the girls that were in the Olympics,” she said. “I’m just going to go and have as much fun as I can.”

    In a season full of new bests and impressive performances, it was fitting that the UW-Eau Claire gymnastics team would have yet another record-setting performance. Only this time the stakes were raised a bit higher.

    The Blugolds had their best finish in school history Friday in taking fourth place at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association Nationals at UW-La Crosse. Their score of 184.45 was better than Ithaca College (N.Y.) and UW-Oshkosh, but behind La Crosse, SUNY-Cortland and SUNY-Brockport.

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    “Performance-wise, they did exactly what they had to do,” De Lisle said. “I don’t think we could have caught La Crosse but I think we should finished probably second or third.”

    La Crosse won the national title for the fifth consecutive year, with a score of 189.95.

    The Blugolds were led by strong performances by senior Alison Eagles and freshman Theresa Lynch. Eagles’ vault score of 9.45 and floor exercise score of 9.65 earned her a position in Saturday’s national individual competition, while Lynch qualified for the individual uneven bars competition with a 9.15. She joined Eagles as a floor exercise qualifier with a score of 9.55.

    “I think we did pretty good,” Eagles said. “We hit a lot of our events and everyone was feeling really good. We had a few mistakes, but nothing that was really large or anything.”

    Eagles and Lynch were not the only Blugold stars Friday. Freshman Angie Cich earned a spot in the individual vault competition with a 9.4 score, and junior Lynn Morris’ 9.175 in the uneven bars earned her the opportunity to perform on Saturday as well. Sophomore Ashley Brett rounded out the Eau Claire individual national qualifiers by capturing a 9.475 in the floor exercise.

    Lynch was the top all-around Blugold finisher. Her score of 37.2 was good for sixth nationally, and was followed by Morris’s 37.075. Eagles finished 10th by earning a score of 36.875.

    While the Blugolds had eight individual qualifiers for Saturday’s national individual competition, it was the two upperclassmen that once again cemented themselves as a couple of the nation’s premier All-Americans.

    Eagles and Morris each earned All-American honors in two events. Eagles earned third in the floor exercise with two scores of 9.65 and 9.675 totaling 19.325. She also earned fourth place in the vault competition with twin scores of 9.45, finishing with an 18.9, that earned Eagles her fourth All-American honor.

    Morris took care of the balance beam, finishing in third place with a 19.2 score made up from a 9.75 and 9.45.

    She also finished fifth in the uneven bars with scores of 9.175 and 9.2, which combined for an 18.375. Her finishes earned Morris her sixth All-American honor.

    It is her third consecutive year of placing nationally in the balance beam.

    “The Blugolds have never had eight girls qualify into the individual finals before, and we did that, and then we came home with six All-Americans,” De Lisle said. “That’s pretty amazing. Not many schools accomplish that.”

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    Gymnasts take fourth place at nationals