Gymnastics falls short at home

Blugolds lose close one to Winona State (Minn.) on senior night

Story by Courtney Roszak, Staff Writer

UW-Eau Claire gymnastics  took second against UW-Oshkosh and Winona State (Minn.) Friday night at McPhee Physical Education Center.
Winona edged the Blugolds by .050 points.

The Blugolds ended the night with a score of 181.775. Winona finished with a score of 181.825, while Oshkosh took third scoring 179.950. Blugold sophomore Elizabeth Stubbs took first in floor with a score of 9.5 for the night.

“Tonight was one of our better meets,” Stubbs said. “We all were ready for it. We’re ready for more to come.”

From Oshkosh, Krystal Walker took first in balance beam with a score of 9.475 and took first in all-around ending the night at 37.025. Oshkosh gymnast Leane Blais took first on uneven bars scoring 9.475 and Jade Donaldson from Winona took first in vault scoring 9.425.

Throughout the night,  senior Karla Hagen’s goal was to hit her routines but also have fun. She said she treated the meet like it was no different from any other home meet.

“I focused my energy and thoughts on my gymnastics and my team instead of thinking it was my last home meet,” Hagen said.

The Blugolds best event was floor, with an overall team score of 46.250. During the floor warm ups, Blugold freshman Desirae Stanton said she was having difficulties landing her double back.  But when it came time for her to perform, she nailed it and her team exploded with cheers.

“The best part is knowing that my team is right there with me and helped me through every bit of my difficulty,” Stanton said. “Hearing them on the edge of the floor cheering for me makes me know I have so much support from them.”

Head coach Jean De Lisle said a big goal for the night overall was to keep the energy going no matter what happened. It is something the team and herself have been working on all season.

De Lisle said she thought Friday night was much better than the previous Friday’s meet, and felt the team is heading in the right direction for the rest of the season.

“We made great gains and still have some work to do, but are definitely on the track to peak at the right time,” De Lisle said.

Friday night’s meet was a special night as the team paid tribute to their parents at last home meet of the season. Before results were announced, DeLisle spoke personally to the crowd about each individual senior.

“I just wanted to have it be a special night for the seniors,” De Lisle said. “They are a very special group of people.”

After, the seniors’ parents gave gymnasts a memento to mark the end of their college gymnastics career. For senior Lexi Burnikel’s mom, Jayne Burnikel, it was an important and emotional night.

“I’m incredibly proud of her,” Burnikel said. “(Lexi) has struggled with so many injuries, but each time she’s battled back from them.”

The Blugolds’ next meet will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday at UW-La Crosse.