West Chester gymnastics continued to show talent and strength on Sat. Jan. 25, 2014 in a quad-meet at Towson University inside the new SECU Arena. The Rams (5-1) finished in second place as a team with a 188.975 over division rivals Southern Connecticut State University (187.1) and non-league Centenary College (186.375). The host, division one Towson Gymnastics, had the winning team score of 191.9.
“It was the first time they had to face a lot of pressure this year,” said pleased head coach Barbara Cordova. “They really handled it well.”
The girls put their strength to the test over the weekend proving that pressure, excitement, and event order was not enough to rattle their performances. West Chester started off the competition on the balance beam. Four of six girls on the beam line-up made beautifully stuck routines and recorded scores 9.5 or higher. Emily Seigel continued to shine posting a 9.675 that allowed her to tie for sixth overall on the event. Behind Seigel was teammate Alyssa Hult in 10th place with a 9.6. Melissa Prisco and Cecelia Lorenzen tied for 13th, scoring a solid 9.5.
The Lady Rams headed to the floor exercise where they had potential to remain ahead of their competition. Freshman Majesta Valentine displayed her confidence and posise on this event by posting an amazing 9.775 and finished in a tie for third overall. Senior teammate Stephanie Plaugher had a strong showing on the floor exercise receiving a 9.65 placing her 11th overall on the event. Sophomore Lindsay Knapp’s strong 9.625 placed her 14th overall on the floor while Seigel was 18th with her 9.525.
Following a successful floor rotation, the gymnasts headed to the vault where the line-up hit six out of six of their vaults. Unfortunately, the judges scoring did not exactly reflect the vaulter’s performances. Freshman Selena Swanger was the standout performer for the Lady Rams. She hit an amazing vault posting a 9.65. Swanger placed second overall on the event.
After low scoring vaults, West Chester knew they had to step it up on uneven bars. The girls responded well to the pressure by having five out of six girls on the uneven bar line-up hit solid routines. Once again, Seigel captured the title on the uneven bars with an outstanding performance that scored a deserving 9.75. This was the third consecutive competition that Seigel captured the bar title at. Sophomore Meghan Brannon, teammate of Seigel, tied for second with another strong routine posting a score of 9.725.
Freshman Valentine, an all around competitor, posted her personal best of 37.725 in the all around competition and finished fourth. Along with Valentine, senior and co-captain Seigel continued to be a strong performer for the Golden Rams.
“Emily Seigel had an outstanding meet,” Coach Cordova said. “She scored well in all three events in which she competed.”
On Feb. 1, 2014 at 1p.m., West Chester gymnastics will compete at the Ken Anderson Invitational in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania hosted by Temple University gymnastics. Here the Rams will face Ursinus College, Cornell University, Temple, and Pennsylvania University.
West Chester gymnastics placed fourth out of five teams with a 187.125 Saturday afternoon inside McGonigle Hall at Temple University. The girls came very close to Division 1 University of Pennsylvania in the team standings. University of Pennsylvania finished in third with a final team score of 188.35. In fifth place behind WCU was non-league foe Ursinus College. Host temple won the meet with a season high 191.15. Second place Cornell, another division one school, finished with a 191.025.
The Lady Rams started the competition again on the balance beam. They had a rough start with only three out of six girls on line-up hitting their beam routines. Knapp led the crew on the beam recording a 9.4.
The Golden Rams were able to redeem themselves and come back up in the standings after an outstanding performance on the floor exercise. Valentine had the team high score on the event for the Rams with a 9.65. Behind Valentine, Alyssa Hult and Kristen Torres tied on the event with a 9.625.
After a mid-meet bye, West Chester headed to the vault for their third rotation. Despite hard judging and low scores, the team performed well. Freshman Valentine was the standout on the event scoring a 9.55. Melissa Prisco, junior from Old Bridge, N.J., scored behind Valentine recording a solid 9.4.
To wrap up the Ken Anderson Invitational, WCU gymnastics finished on the uneven bars. The girls got off to a strong start with Hult’s career high college performance scoring a 9.725. Tying Hult was senior teammate Seigel. Throughout the bar line-up, the Rams continued to show depth by gradually increasing their scores. Anchor Brannon led the rams with a beautiful 9.775. It was one of the best performances from an individual on the team this season.
Overall, the Rams did an excellent job staying positive and mentally tough throughout the meet regardless of the action and excitement around them. West Chester will head home for their next competition hosting Ursinus College on Sat. Feb. 8, 2014 as their alumni meet.
Lauren Bilenki is a third-year student majoring in accounting and finance. She can be reached at LB759145@wcupa.edu