Falling short

Blugold gymnastic team falls short of making it to nationals as a team, junior Julia Stedman moves on individually


Photo by Meghan Hosely

Story by Meghan Hosely, Online Editor

Throughout the season, Blugold gymnastics head coach Jean DeLisle consistently said her squad’s overall goal was to make it to the national meet as a team, and last Saturday was the meet that determined if the gymnasts met their goal.

The regional meet, hosted by Hamline University (Minn.), consisted of teams in the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association West Regional. The top nine individuals of each event punch their tickets to the national meet, hosted by UW-La Crosse this year.

The top three teams overall earn spots as a whole, and on Saturday night, the Blugolds couldn’t manage with a top three finish as a team, placing sixth.

Although the Blugolds aren’t going as a team, they are sending junior Julia Stedman to La Crosse for the individual portion of the meet March 28.

Stedman tied for second place in the floor exercise, charting a 9.750. The junior competing in the vault, where she placed seventh with a score of 9.550.

This national meet marks the third consecutive time Stedman has qualified individually, and said she made it an expectation for herself to make it again this year, although nerves were still present.

“Going in (to the regional meet), I was nervous to compete at regionals because I knew team-wise we were on the bubble,” Stedman said. “Individual-wise I was also on the bubble so we had to compete really well and so just going in with those nerves … it was really exciting.”

Stedman’s routine Saturday night was the same, but the head coach said her floor routine was just a little better than it has been all season long.

“It was kind of fun because everyone was done competing, she was the last one on the floor,” DeLisle said. “… All eyes were on her and she loved it. Other people may crack on it, but (Stedman) was like, ‘Sweet!’”

One member of the team, who DeLisle thinks should be attending the national meet, is junior Liz Stubbs. Stubbs severely sprained her ankle March 6 at a meet against UW-Stout.

Throughout the season, DeLisle said Stubbs was ranked in the top two in the region in beam and floor, and since she wasn’t able to compete at regionals, she didn’t qualify for a spot in La Crosse.

DeLisle said she’s tried to petition to grant Stubbs into the national meet, but hasn’t come up with the answers she was looking for.

“I think they’re wrong in not … letting her go,” DeLisle said. “To me that’s terrible.”

Even with the seemingly bittersweet end, Stedman saw the overall positives to the season.

“I’m not upset with how we competed at regionals, I think we had a really great last meet,” Stedman said. “This season, our team had a lot of heart and commitment to the team. There’s a lot of room for improvement … which I’m excited to see.”