The women’s gymnastics team continued to raise the bar early this season in their duel meet against Ursinus.
The Owls, who scored 188.225 in their victory, are building a strong foundation on a young season in the hopes that they will be one of the top teams in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
“I think we have the potential to be one of the top teams,” senior Chelsea Troutman said. “Right now we might be hanging around the middle but I believe at the end of the season we really have the chance to step up on top.”
“Overall, only counting two falls for the second meet of the season is definitely something that I’m pleased with,” coach Aaron Murphy said. “I definitely can’t get mad at my team at all. We are going to get in that gym, though, whenever we can and do whatever it takes to become perfect because that’s what our sport is all about.”
The Owls swept every event on the individual leaderboards. Troutman took first on the uneven parallel bars with a 9.625, followed by senior Kathryn Ho and sophomore Ebone Grant, who posted 9.525 each.
Junior Kaity Watson took first on the vault with a 9.625 and senior Marissa Oxenford posted a 9.6 on the floor exercise. Freshman Sylvie Borschel continued to impress in just her second collegiate event with a 9.625 on the balance beam.
Even though the Owls swept every event, Murphy questioned the judging on vault, where he felt his girls did just as well as they did last week but received noticeably lower scores.
“Our vault team went up there and definitely did their job. They went six for six,” Murphy said. “I’m definitely proud of that team, ‘cause they did go out there and hit like they were supposed to, but the judging just wasn’t in our favor.”
He also praised the team’s fight during the beam, where the team ended the day. The girls only counted one fall during the event, an improvement from last week at George Washington.
“For that event it’s very, very tough to end on beam,” Murphy said. “‘Cause beam is such an event that, in my eyes, deserves a lot of focus and you got to be concentrating really hard. And sometimes at the end of the meet you’re a little tired and you can lose focus.”
Despite some of the struggles the team is obviously proud of the early signs that seem to indicate to success later in the season. The freshmen class of Borschel, Brittanie DeMeno, Brianna Ferdinandi and Jasmine Johnson have already provided solid performances in their young careers.
“They’re definitely helping out a lot. It’s always fun to see how they do in competition,” Ho said. “They’re doing really well adjusting to collegiate gymnastics and they’re learning pretty quickly what it means to be a part of the team and how their performances impact the team overall.”
“Our freshmen class is definitely making their mark,” Murphy added. “They can go into these meets and they can get out there and hit their routines, which is something a coach really likes to see.”
The Owls also have solid upper-classmen leadership that they feel balances perfectly with the young talent on the team.
“I know [junior] Corinne Williams, she’s going to be a huge standout for us, especially coming off of being ECAC floor champion from last year. She’s definitely got what it takes in the all-around to not only put up big scores for herself but for our team and even possibly to go postseason. [Junior] Kaity Watson, she’s going to be pushing the all-around around as well.”
But for now, the focus turns to continuing to improve in practice before the team travels to Southern Connecticut State on Saturday.
“We are going to get in that gym whenever we can and do whatever it takes to become perfect because that’s what our sport is all about” Murphy said.
Jake Adams can be reached at email@example.com.