By Josh Sinclair
March 9, 2016
With a second-place finish at the WIAC Championships, the Whitewater gymnastics team advanced to the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association National Championships on March 4 in La Crosse.
The Warhawks tallied 191.400 points, good for second place in the meet. UW-La Crosse took the title by .4 points scoring 191.800 to take the WIAC crown. The top-three team scores moved on to the NCGA Championships, and with the second-place finish Whitewater was able to advance as a team; however, certain individuals also moved on as well.
“I am very proud of what our team has accomplished this year, but we are very excited to get back in the gym and work on the little details,” head coach Jennifer Regan said. “I know that we have so much more in us and I am excited to get back to work with this team.”
The first event of the meet was the uneven parallel bars where Whitewater won with a score of 47.850, good for the No. 6 score in program history, but only good enough for second at the meet. Junior Mackenzie Smith led the way with a 9.725, which was good for second place. Freshman Lisa O’Donnell finished sixth with a 9.625, while senior Amanda Quinn, juniors Courtney Pickett and Katie Fiorilli all tied each other for 10th with matching scores of 9.500.
The ’Hawks continued to the next event in the meet on the balance beam with a 47.925, which tied Whitewater’s third-highest result of all time. Freshman Franchesca Hutton tied for fifth with a 9.650, and was followed by Pickett and senior Kristin Shackleton, who tied for eighth with identical scores of 9.600.
“Generally our strongest events are vault and floor,” Shackleton said. “Although this weekend, I felt that we really performed our best on balance beam and bars. Those are usually our biggest challenges but we continued to build off one another throughout each routine.”
O’Donnell led Whitewater in the floor exercise, where the team finished with a 47.850. O’Donnell registered an individual score of 9.725.
Fiorilli finished as the runner-up on the vault with a 9.675. Freshman Destiny Patrick tied for fourth with a 9.600, while Lee and sophomore Lewa Evans tied for 11th at 9.550. The Warhawks finished with a 47.775 in the event, good for second in the event for the meet.
Pickett placed fourth in the all-around tallying a 38.050, followed by O’Donnell, who was ninth with a score of 37.150.
Following the meet, Shackleton was named the team’s representative on the WIAC All-Sportsmanship Team.
Eight athletes scored well enough to qualify for the NCGA individual event finals. The athletes who qualified for event finals on beam were O’Donnell and Pickett. In vault Fiorilli and Patrick qualified, and on the bars Fiorilli, O’Donnell and freshman Mackenzie Smith all are moving
on. Hannah Lee, Hutton, Pickett, and Shackleton are all moving on to the beam finals.
“We are very excited and proud of our athletes who have qualified for event finals,” Regan said. “Our goal has always been to focus on the team approach.”
Whitewater begins competition at the NCGA Championships with the team finals and all-around championship on March 18 at SUNY Brockport in Brockport, New York. The event continues March 19 with the individual event finals.