Gymnastics takes third place in La Crosse

Ben Lokken, Staff Reporter

The No. 6 UW-Whitewater gymnastics team traveled to UW-La Crosse Feb. 1 for the 38th annual Gershon/McLellan Invitational and looked promising despite many injuries.

UW-W faced off against No. 4 UW-La Crosse and Division I opponent Air Force, and scored 182.500 total points to place third in a highly competitive meet.  The Warhawks point total fell just behind Air Force’s 188.200 points and La Crosse’s 186.975 points.

“We’ve had a rough season just in the aspect of injuries,” senior all-around Bailey Fitzpatrick said. “So for us to just kind of put up a lineup and get people out there and get more experience is what we are striving for right now. Obviously it wasn’t the result that we wanted but it’s a place to start.”

As a team, the Warhawks scored a 46.450 on balance beam, a 45.125 on floor exercise, 45.125 on uneven bars and a 45.800 on vault.

“I think we don’t really focus on the scores at this point in the season,” senior all-around Erika Briscoe said. “We just focus on putting in the work in the gym and that’s definitely showing on the competition floor. We just have to take away every little positive that we can.”

On the vault, junior all-around Lauren Marshall recorded the best score for division III competitors and tied for second place with score of 9.475.  Freshmen vault/floor Abigail Missiaen tied for fourth with a score of 9.375 and fellow freshmen all-around Rachel Lewellen recorded a score of 9.150, which was good for a tenth place finish.

Fitzpatrick tied for fourth place on the uneven bars with a score of 9.525, matching the season best.  Senior bars, beam, and floor Abby Helmke placed 12th with a 9.100 and sophomore all-around Blaise Wilson scored an 8.950 to place 13th.

On the balance beam, sophomore all-around Vanessa Olinger and Briscoe collected career-best finishes with scores of 9.550 and 9.475 and took a sixth and seventh place finishes respectively.  Senior beam and floor Frankee Hutton-Lau and freshmen all-around Emily North placed ninth and tenth with scores of 9.225 and 9.200 respectively.

On the floor, the Warhawks top finisher was Hutton-Lau with a score of 9.225, good for a tenth place finish.  Senior vault, beam, and floor Lewa Evans came away with a score of 9.175, which tied for 11th place in the event.  Briscoe placed 14th and junior all-around Acacia Fossum placed 15th with scores of 8.950 and 8.925 respectively.

“Our goal is we need to get healthy right now,” head coach Jennifer Regan said. “If we can get healthy, then we’re going to be just fine.”