Gymnastics: Women win second meet of season on senior night Friday

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On senior night, the Tribe won its second meet of the season behind strong performances on vault and the uneven bars. COURTESY PHOTO / TRIBE ATHLETICS

William and Mary garnered its second win of the season in its last home meet. Friday, the Tribe bested Penn 193.425-191.975 in the senior night victory.

While not all of the College’s seniors were able to compete Friday as the senior squad has been beset by injury problems throughout their time with the Tribe, head coach Mary Lewis said even injured gymnasts bring a lot to the team.

According to Lewis, the Tribe opted not to select captains this season and instead embraced a policy of “collective leadership,” in which each athlete contributes to leading the team. Lewis said that the seniors in particular have embraced their role as leaders and have contributed in the locker room and practice.

“They have brought a lot as far as the leadership and making sure everyone feels included and helping everyone find a voice and to have a vested interest in how the team does,” Lewis said. “They’re a very uplifting group.”

The Tribe’s highest team score tonight was on the uneven bars, where the College posted a 48.725. Freshman Katie Waldman and sophomore Caroline Caponi tied for first place with matching scores of 9.850, marking a career-high for Caponi.

Lewis said bars has been a recent strength for the College.

“Bars has finally taken off,” Lewis said. “We broke the school week two weeks ago and they’re keeping it together. Every once in a while we need to remind them to tighten up and keep things clean.”

Caponi also achieved a career-high score on vault, where she took first place with her score of 9.775.

“Even though it’s not always the highest, vault has been the most consistent throughout the season,” Lewis said. “The biggest thing we need to do is get after our landings and every once in a while we need to maybe clean up the execution a little bit.”

The rest of the Tribe also performed well on vault, adding to the team score of 48.425. Sophomore Erika Marr and Waldman tied for second place with matching scores of 9.700. Juniors Madison Dwyer and Katie Webber tied for fourth place with scores of 9.625, which tied a career best for Dwyer.

“I think this is a resilient group and I think that’s one of the strengths of this team,” Lewis said. “It’s a young group still. Three fourths of the routines are coming from the sophomore class and the freshmen. I’m hoping that with experience next year is going to bode well for us.”

While the College also saw gymnasts on the podium in both beam and floor, the Tribe did not take the team titles in these events with its respective team scores of 48.150 and 48.125.

“Beam is typically your hit or miss event and they’ve actually done really well,” Lewis said. “We’re trying to get them to make corrections and bring those corrections when they come up to the arena. A lot of times you come out into the bright lights and everybody’s demeanor changes a little bit.”

Waldman was the only Tribe gymnast to place on balance beam. She tied for third with her score of 9.750.

On floor, sophomore Elizabeth Snoddy took second place with her career-best score of 9.800.

“We’ve been a little up and down with floor over the past couple of weekends,” Lewis said. “One of the biggest things we have to work on is making sure that when we start out strong we finish strong. We struggled with that last week. We were having a really good meet and then we kind of had a meltdown on floor.”

In the all-around, the Tribe also put up solid numbers. Caponi took first place with her 38.700 and Waldman placed second with her 38.500 points. Sophomore Taylor White also competed in the all-around, scoring 37.800 and placing fourth.

Although Lewis said the seniors would be missed, she also expressed her excitement about the future of the Tribe, highlighting athletes like the all-around competitors.

“I think this is a resilient group and I think that’s one of the strengths of this team,” Lewis said. “It’s a young group still. Three fourths of the routines are coming from the sophomore class and the freshmen. I’m hoping that with experience next year is going to bode well for us.”

Lewis said that it is important to remember the physical toll gymnastics takes on young women.

“Gymnastics is not a friend to the maturing female,” Lewis said. “It gets harder as you get older, whereas with a number of other sports, actually getting older and into your 20s could be a strength. Some of them have been doing gymnastics or have been in the gym since they were two or three years old. This is a brutal sport. The big thing is making sure we’re working on the strength end and conditioning and that we’re always stressing quality versus quantity.”

The Tribe will return to action Sunday for the last regular season meet of the year. The team will take on NC State, West Virginia, Cornell and host Towson.

“It’s the time of the year you’ve just got to grind it out,” Lewis said. “If this crew can stay healthy, I think there are a lot of great things that are going to come.”

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