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 fifth

    Once upon a time in a world across the pond, there lived a group of four gentlemen who released a post-breakup record that was sullied by a man previously known for producing quality material. Phil Spector, best known for his work on such songs as “Be My Baby,” “Then He Kissed Me” and “Da Doo Run Run,” molded The Beatles’ in-limbo “Get Back” project into the marketable, “Let it Be.

    The UW-Eau Claire gymnastics team earned fifth place at the 2012 National Collegiate Gymnastics Association Championship last Friday and Saturday. It was their best finish since 2005 and the Blugolds’ 183.700 points was their highest total of the season.

    Coach Jean DeLisle said the preparation process was hard for the team at times after having such a long layoff after the March 3 conference meet. Because of that, DeLisle said she was especially pleased that the team didn’t let it affect their performance.

    “During that three long week stretch … it was hard to keep the motivation really high,” she said. “But we got there, they picked it right back up and didn’t miss a beat.”

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    The individual competition was highlighted by five All-American finishes for the Blugolds, including one national title.

    Leading the way was sophomore Michaela McCamey with her first place finish on the balance beam. McCamey’s score of 9.650 tied her previous career-high mark in that event.

    McCamey said that it felt great to stick her routine at the meet that mattered most.

    “Basically, as the routine went on and I stuck each skill, I think I just smiled throughout the whole routine,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier with how it ended up.”

    With her first place finish, McCamey became just the fourth Blugold gymnast ever to win a National title, and the first since 2006. Having her name added to the history books is something McCamey said still feels surreal.

    “It definitely is an honor to be a part of that, I can’t even believe it myself,” she said. “I’m just happy to have had the opportunity.”

    Also earning All-American honors were sophomore Olivia Aschenbrenner and junior Danielle Schulzetenberg in the all-around competition.  Aschenbrenner tied for seventh place while Schulzetenberg tied for ninth.

    DeLisle said having two gymnasts from the same team finish in the top 10 was nothing short of amazing.

    “First of all, to have two all-arounders on a team is getting to be less and less common,” De Lisle said. “So, to have both of our all-arounders finish as All-Americans is fantastic.”

    Both gymnasts also put together strong performances on the second day in individual events. Schulzetenberg tied for third with her routine on the floor exercise, earning her first team All-American honors.

    Schulzetenberg said she was pleased with her season-best score of 9.650 in the event she feels has been her strongest all season.

    “I was really excited when I made finals,” she said. “I just went out the second day and had a lot of fun and gave it all I’ve got just to have no regrets.”

    Aschenbrenner competed individually in the uneven bars and took eighth place to earn second team All-American status.

    Coach DeLisle said she was happy to see Aschenbrenner place in the top 10 because she has been so consistent in that event throughout the season.

    “Her bar routine is exactly what she always does, whether it’s practice or a meet,” DeLisle said. “She’s just a solid kid up there, and it showed.”

    With two more All-American honors each for the pair of gymnasts, Schulzetenberg now has a career total of six awards while Aschenbrenner has tallied five.

    Schulzetenberg said she always feels a great sense of pride being recognized as an All-American, and that it’s especially rewarding after all the years she’s put into the sport.

    “It’s a big accomplishment,” Schulzetenberg said. “A lot of people don’t even get an All-American, so it’s just kind of surreal to think about it.”

    Moving forward, the Blugolds will graduate only three seniors this off-season and have 17 underclassmen returning, including all of the All-Americans.

    DeLisle said she gets a little nervous thinking about trying to replicate the success the team has had this season, but that it’s hard to deny how much talent the team has coming back.

    “We have Danielle who is a six-time All-American, Olivia and now Michaela,” she said. “And we have more than a handful of girls that we haven’t heard tons about, but I think you are going to hear a lot about next year.”


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    Gymnasts take fifth