Eagles defeat Wolverines in exhibition meet

Catie Conrad competed all-around for the first time in her career as the Eastern Michigan University women’s gymnastics team defeated the University of Michigan, 194.050-183.350, in their only exhibition meet of the season.

Conrad finished the afternoon with a 38.725 all-around score for the Eagles.

“[Catie] handled it really well,” EMU coach Jay Santos said. “She had four really solid routines.”

The Eagles started the meet on the uneven bars where Conrad, Natalie Gervais and Kendall Valentin all scored a 9.750 while Kirsten Gendron and Lacey Rubin contributed a 9.725 and 9.700. This gave the Eagles a 48.675-to-48.550 lead over Michigan after the first event.

The Eagles then moved over to the vault where senior Kimberly Ebeyer started the event off with a 9.700. Kelsie Brooks followed her, after being a late add, and scored a 9.625. Catie Conrad and Sydney McEachern scored a 9.675 and 9.65. Then, Rachel Slocum scored a 9.725 which was the highest for the Eagles. Freshman Ciara Gresham closed out the lineup, scoring a 9.65.

Santos originally had Gendron in the vault lineup but decided to make the switch during warm ups. Despite having her score ultimately dropped for being the lowest, Santos still had high praise for Brooks being able to jump into the event.

“Kelsie Brooks did a nice vault for us,” Santos said. “We weren’t sure if that was going to be there in warm ups. She warmed up great, [we] put her in [the lineup] and she did a good job.”

The Eagles then moved to their floor routines which saw Gendron lead the way with a 9.750. Slocum and McEachern would follow with both scored a 9.725. Gresham and Conrad also finished with a 9.575 and 9.525, respectfully. After three events, the Eagles led 145.375-to-144.75.

The Eagles moved to their final event in the balance beam and tied bars for the highest scored event of the afternoon. Ebeyer started the event and scored a 9.650. The Eagles were led by Valentin who scored a 9.800, which was the highest score of the day for them. Gervais scored a 9.70 and Conrad and Rubin followed scoring a 9.775 and 9.750.

Michigan had only four of its normal six girls competing on the floor and had four routines score under 9.300 overall.

“We knew they were kind of banged up and it showed today,” Santos said. “On the flipside, our kids did a good job and that’s what we’re taking from it. We came out and our kids looked normal, comfortable, and confident when they were doing their gymnastics."

Despite the loss, Michigan still won every individual event including freshman Olivia Karas scoring a 39.250 all-around.

Santos noted the overall success the team had with limiting falls and major mistakes.

“We did 27 routines today, including exhibitions, and we hit 25 of them,” Santos said.

"We still really need to work on our execution and our scoring potential,” Santos said. “But, for this part of the season and for it being December, we went out and did a really good job, and I'm very happy about that."

Looking Forward:

The regular season will start for the Eagles in Pittsburgh, Pa against the University of Pittsburgh, Towson University and the University of Maryland on Jan. 10 2016 at 2 p.m.

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