COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Maryland gymnastics team posted its best score of the season in a 195.525 to 194.975 victory over West Virginia Sunday afternoon at Comcast Center. The Terps (11-7, 6-6 EAGL) celebrated their last regular season meet on Senior Day as they clinched a perfect record at home for the 2014 season.
“It feels great,” head coach Brett Nelligan said. “At the end of the season you have to be able to put up your best scores to keep up with the rest of the country. We knew that coming in today and they did a great job.”
Maryland’s two graduating seniors, Jessie Black and Elizabethe Manzi, added key routines to lead the Terps to victory. Black tied her career-best mark on bars with a 9.875 to tie for first place on the event. Manzi stayed poised as she competed after a fall on beam and executed a strong routine for a 9.825, the Terps’ second-best score on the event.
“[Jessie and Elizabethe] are both down-to-earth, hardworking kids who have earned everything that has come their way,” Nelligan said. “It’s great to see them come out on top, not only individually, but as a team.”
In the first rotation, Stephanie Giameo posted the Terps’ highest score on vault with a season-high-tying 9.850, which earned her second place. Sarah Faller tied her personal record on the event with a 9.800 to tie teammate Karen Tang for fifth. At the end of the rotation, Maryland faced a slight deficit as they trailed the Mountaineers, 49.050 to 48.900.
Black’s 9.875 on bars tied teammate Karen Tang, who also tied her personal-best score, and Mountaineer Hope Sloanhoffer for first place. Kathy Tang was close behind with a 9.850 for fourth as she also tied her personal-best mark. Manzi led off on the event and scored a 9.800, which would tie Giameo and two West Virginia competitors for sixth place. The strong bars rotation gave Maryland the lead, 98.100 to 97.950, at the halfway point.
On beam, Giameo tied her season-best score with a 9.875 for first place. Manzi’s 9.825 earned her a fourth-place finish, followed by a season-best mark for Karen Tang for fifth. The lead swapped hands again after three rotations and the Terps entered the fourth rotation facing another deficit.
Maryland quickly accepted the challenge and let each routine build off the previous one as they posted a 49.125 team score on floor. Karen Tang led the effort as she tied her career-best mark with a 9.900 and tied for first place on the event. Ebony Walters tied for third with a 9.875. The Terps successfully overcame the deficit and claimed the victory.
Karen Tang totaled a career-best all-around mark with a 39.325 for second place. Giameo finished with a season-best 39.300 for third and West Virginia’s Sloanhoffer took home the all-around title with a 39.500.
“I think the team kind of got together at the end and said we want to make sure this night is special for our seniors and they vowed they would do everything in their power to get that win,” Nelligan said. “They fought and scratched for every tenth on floor and that’s what got us the win.”
Having now completed the regular season, the Terps look forward to the EAGL Championships March 22 at New Hampshire.