Women’s gymnastics falls short

    Eau Claire’s parent/senior night ends just half a point away from victory

    More stories from Sam Farley


    Photo by Sam Farley

    The team posed for their last home dual meet of the season, which recognized their six soon-to-be graduates.

    The UW-Eau Claire women’s gymnastics team finished their last home dual meet of the season with a close second against Winona State University, racking up a total of 184.875 points to their 185.200.

    The Blugolds, who rank sixth in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC), came up short against the number three Warriors on the bars and beam but tied for vault and dominated the floor, leaving them just half a point away from a victory for the night.

    Although the Warriors won the battle, Eau Claire was no stranger to the board and secured a top three finish in every event.

    Seniors Erin Olson and Lauren Zurowski paved the way for the Blugolds, leading the floor and uneven parallel bar events with winning scores of 9.700 and 9.400, respectively.

    Zurowski also placed second in floor with a score of 9.650.

    Although these personal achievements were a big highlight of the meet, Zurowski said the night was more about being with her teammates and savoring her last home meet in McPhee.

    “Being with everyone and enjoying every moment … that was my mindset,” Zurowski said.

    Perhaps the biggest highlight, she said, was watching teammate Clare Mascia finally hit her bar and beam routines after struggling with it in past meets.

    Mascia, a sophomore, came in third on the beam with a score of 9.425. Eau Claire’s junior Becca Wilcox took second on the vault with the same score.

    Junior Tori Erickson made the charts for the Blugolds as well, placing fourth in both the vault and balance beam events and earning an all around score of 36.700.

    Earlier in the season, Erickson tied for first in the floor exercise for the WIAC Women’s Gymnastics Honor Roll with a score of 9.800. This same score earned her a spot on the Eau Claire all-time records for floor, where she is tied for second.

    Although the team had its fair share of struggles during the season with an overall record of 4-12, the girls had many highlights, including setting a team high score — 47.77 — on the beam during their first meet at Central Michigan.

    Friday’s meet honored the Blugolds’ five seniors, Jessica Dhaene, Sarah Engstrom, Olson, Emily Van Krevelen and Zurowski, along with junior and early graduate Bailey Peter.

    Engstrom said having four seniors compete in floor, the last event for the Blugolds at home meets, was a great way to celebrate their achievements and gymnastics careers.

    “It was crazy getting to go out there and do it for the last time with the team … it was really fun but kind of bittersweet,” Engstrom said.

    The Blugolds will compete again at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 17 at Winona State for the WIAC Championship/NCGA West Regional Meet.

    This meet will include all eight conference teams competing against each other; therefore, season records and past meets do not matter.

    “It’s our biggest meet of the season and it all leads up to this point,” Engstrom said. “It will be anyone’s game.”