Photo by wcupagoldenrams.com
On Friday, Feb. 18, the West Chester gymnastics team traveled to the Philadelphia Convention Center and competed at the “Unite for Her Pink Invitational” gymnastics meet hosted by the club gym, AJS Pancott. Although the Golden Rams competed against the Southern Connecticut State University Owls, the two teams united under a greater cause: breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
This meet will forever have a special place in the team’s heart since the founder and CEO of “Unite for Her,” Sue Weldon, is one of their own — a WCU Gymnastics alum. Both teams wore pink leotards in support of breast cancer and kept the memory of loved ones that have fought these battles in mind as they were competing. As the home team, the Golden Rams had the advantage of rotating in Olympic order: first vault, then bars, beam and finally floor.
The vault lineup started the meet off strong scoring a big 48.075 with key performances from super senior Jessica Meakim scoring a 9.7 and freshman Kristina Rodriguez scoring a 9.65. Senior Mckenna Kissinger always puts up a big score, 9.6 this week, with her super unique vault. After vault, West Chester moved to bars where they swung big.
The bars squad scored a big 48.15. After a little bit of lineup switching and getting used to the equipment, the Rams were ready to soar on bars. Sophomore Hyla Betts and fifth-year Meakim earned a solid pair of 9.65’s to add to the team score. Only .025 tenths behind them, sophomore Lauren Wicker and freshman Jordan Coleman scored 9.625s.
The Golden Rams headed to the beam where they looked confident and earned a team score of 48.025. Sophomore beam star Lily McFarland competed with a nearly flawless routine, scoring a huge 9.825. Her fellow sophomores, Caroline Cascadden and Hyla Betts, looked super solid and scored 9.725 and 9.675 respectively. The Rams were in a good place heading into their final event and one of their bests.
West Chester ended super strong on floor scoring a 48.7 and securing the win for the Golden Rams. This would not be possible without the amazing Meakim, Kissinger and Cascadden performing flawless routines that undoubtedly entertained the audience. Meakim won floor with a 9.875, and Kissinger and Cascadden were close behind with 9.8s. The floor squad never fails to put on a show and draw you in.
The Rams had an outstanding meet and took victory from the Southern Connecticut Owls, beating them 192.95–191.7. Jessica Meakim took first place in the All-Around, earning a 38.45. The West Chester Gymnastics team had a great meet but supported an even greater cause. This is one of their favorite meets to compete at each year because of the positive environment and feeling of competing for something bigger than themselves. Next week, they will have a double-meet weekend, traveling to William and Mary on Feb. 25, taking on the Tribe, and Ursinus on Feb. 27, taking on the Bears.
Kristina Rodriguez is a first-year Biology major. KR970636@wcupa.edu