The No. 24 Maryland gymnastics team starts its 2014 campaign on at 7 p.m. Friday at Central Michigan University. Maryland had two seniors graduate last season, but have added five freshmen.
The Terps placed fourth at the NCAA Gainesville Regional Championships last season with a score of 195.575, which is the second-highest score and finish for the Terps in program history. Maryland finished the season ranked 22nd nationally.
Maryland finished second at the 2013East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Championships behind NC State, but a powerful roster and optimistic outlook for the season earned the Terps a No.1 ranking in the EAGL preseason poll for 2014.
Individually, the Terps had many gymnasts complete impressive personal feats last season. Junior Stephanie Giameo finished last season ranked eighth nationally on the beam. She tied the program record with 9.950 and earned EAGL Gymnast of the Year honors as well as All-EAGL first team honors on beam and all-around
Senior Katy Dodds set a program record on vault at NC State last season with a 9.975. She finished the season ranked eighth nationally in the event. Dodds and Giameo both earned regular-season first-team NACGC/W (National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women) All-America honors last season. Dodds earned first-team vault honors and Giameo earned first-team beam honors.
Central Michigan, who Maryland faces Friday, won its season opener against Wisconsin-Eau Claire last weekend. The Chippewas tied Western Michigan for the Mid-American Conference (MAC) title in 2013 and finished sixth at NCAA Regional Championships in Columbus, Ohio. This season, the team ranked No. 2 in the MAC preseason poll and has three All-MAC gymnasts returning.
Maryland hosts its first home meet on Jan. 17 vs. West Virginia. EAGL competition begins on the road at North Carolina on Jan. 26.