The Maryland gymnasts team looks to keep an undefeated record at Comcast Center as it hosts West Virginia in its last regular-season meet Sunday at 2 p.m. on Senior Day.
The meet is the second between the Terps and the Mountaineers this season. In the initial meeting, Maryland (10-7, 6-6 EAGL) defeated West Virginia in College Park in a fourth-rotation comeback, 193.675 to 193.500.
"This Sunday's meet is very special for us," junior captain Stephanie Giameo said. "Not only is it our last home meet of the season, but it is our senior night. This meet is in honor of our incredible seniors, recognizing them for their dedication to this team. It is always emotional, but we are focused more on enjoying every moment of the night and competing from our hearts for them. Our house, our crowd, our senior night, and our meet to get the win against West Virginia."
A former EAGL member, West Virginia has been a competitive rival for Maryland over the years.
“I think the bottom line is there’s no limit to the number of times we’d like to beat West Virginia,” head coach Brett Nelligan said. “They’re a great rival of ours and a great program. They’ve got good kids; they’ve got kids from this area. We like beating them and we like to do it every time we see them, and they feel the exact same way.”
Maryland enjoyed a full week of practice after a tiring Friday, Monday, Friday meet schedule the previous week. Most recently, the Terps defeated Pittsburgh and UNC in a tri-meet on March 7. Maryland also recorded its best score of the season in its March 3 meet at George Washington with New Hampshire as it totaled 195.425.
Nationally, Maryland ranks 34th overall with an RQS of 194.860 and average score of 194.170. In team event rankings, the Terps are 37th on vault, 38th on bars, 39th on beam and 28th on floor. Individually in the top 50, Giameo is 32nd on beam and Karen Tang ranks 43rd on floor.
In the EAGL, Maryland ranks fourth as a team. Individually, Giameo is the No. 2 gymnast on beam with an RQS of 9.850 and an average mark of 9.813. Karen Tang earned a No. 2 ranking on floor with an RQS of 9.865 and an average score of 9.765. Tang also ranks fourth on bars with an RQS of 9.810 and an average of 9.722. Ebony Walters ranks fifth on floor with an RQS of 9.840 and an average of 9.773.
After impressive performances from Giameo last week, the league honored her as EAGL Gymnast of the Week.
Scouting the Mountaineers (6-8, 0-2 Big 12)
West Virginia ranks 35th nationally with an RQS of 194.745 and an average score of 194.597. The team is 24th on vault, 31st on bars, 41st on beam and 43rd on floor.
West Virginia is coming off of a similar surge in momentum in its season as they posted a season-best score and a season-best road score in consecutive meets.
In the Mountaineers’ most recent meet, they notched a 194.925 in a loss at No. 2 Florida. WVU’s Beth Deal was honored as the Big 12 Conference co-Event Specialist of the Week after a fifth-place finish on beam with a 9.875 mark.
Get to Know the Seniors:
Sunday’s meet will honor the team’s two graduating seniors, Jessie Black and Elizabethe Manzi.
Black made an impact on her teammates right away winning the Positive Mental Attitude Award in her first season with the Terps. As a sophomore, she continued to work hard and was honored with the Most Improved Award as she competed in all 13 meets on bars and finished 17th on the event at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional. Last season, she competed on bars in three meets including the EAGL Championships and the NCAA Regional in Gainesville. In her senior season, Black has excelled continuously and she notched a career-best 9.875 on bars here at Comcast Center versus North Carolina. She has competed on bars in six meets this season. Black is on track to graduate with a degree in kinesiology and a minor in statistics.
Manzi started her Maryland career strong winning the team’s Dynamite Beam Award in her freshman season while competing on beam in all 13 meets, bars in five and vault in two. As a sophomore, she competed on bars in all 13 meets and on beam in 11. That season, she earned All-EAGL honors on bars. As a junior she competed on bars in 10 meets and beam in six. This year, Manzi posted a career-high mark on beam with a 9.850 at George Washington and on bars with a 9.850 at New Hampshire. She has competed on bars in nine meets and on beam in eight this season. Manzi has been a member of the EAGL All-Academic Team for each of the three previous seasons and was named the EAGL Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a junior. She is set to graduate with a degree in engineering.
Fans can watch the meet on Terps TV and follow along with live stats available at umterps.com once the meet begins. Also, follow @TerpsGymnastics for live updates throughout the meet on Twitter.