Eagles finish fourth at NCAA Regionals

After a long and thrilling season, the Eastern Michigan gymnastics team’s season came to a wrap Saturday night after the finished fourth in the Ann Arbor NCAA Regional in Crisler Arena.

The Eagles finished with a meet score of 196.250. The University of Auburn and Stanford University finished tied for first at 196.525 and both will advance to NCAA Nationals. The University of Michigan finished with a 196.475.

"We had three fantastic teams in front of us that we were going to have to beat," EMU coach Jay Santos said. "We came in as the fourth-seed, and are going out as the fourth-seed from the region, but our kids stood toe-to-toe with those three strong teams.”

After starting the meet on a bye, the Eagles started their night on the floor in the second rotation. Sophomore Rachel Slocum anchored the lineup scoring a 9.90. Senior Kimberly Ebeyer, junior Sydney McEachern and freshman Ciara Gresham all finished with a 9.80.

For Slocum, the 9.90 qualified her for NCAA Nationals in Fort Worth, Texas on April 15-16. She will be only the second ever Eagle to compete at Nationals.

"I think it's fantastic that Rachel is going to Nationals," Santos said. "She has been consistent all year long, and she just hits routines. She's been anchoring that lineup, and in the last few meets she has gotten the big scores that we have been looking for. For her to qualify, it's fantastic and we're excited for her."

The Eagles then moved to the vault and Slocum was once again the top score with a 9.825. Sophomore Catie Conrad and Ebeyer both scored a 9.80.

The Eagles then went on their second bye after the third rotation and at that point were tied for first with Auburn at 97.975.

In the fifth rotation, the Eagles moved out of the bye and on the uneven bars. Sophomore Kendall Valentin led the way with a 9.90. Redshirt sophomore Lacey Rubin scored a 9.875 and junior Natalie Gervais scored a 9.85.

The Eagles then moved to the balance beam for the final rotation of the night and had four girls score a 9.8 or better. Gervais finished with a 9.875, Valentin scored a 9.85 and Conrad and Rubin both scored a 9.8.

Unfortunately the Eagles were not able to notch the regional win, falling by .275 of a point but they kept it close in their first NCAA Regional appearance in program history.

“We were leading the meet after a few rotations, and we hung with three of the best teams in the country,” Santos said.

Team Standings (% denotes qualifying to NCAA Championships)

1. Auburn 196.525%

1. Stanford 196.525%

3. Michigan 196.475

4. Eastern Michigan 196.250

5. Penn State 195.125

6. New Hampshire 193.900

Eagles Results per EMUEagles.com (*denotes career high, % denotes qualifying to NCAA Championships)

Team 196.250

Vault 48.900

Rachel Slocum 9.825

Catie Conrad 9.80

Kimberly Ebeyer 9.80

Kendall Valentin 9.75

Julia Schwartz 9.725

Ciara Gresham 9.65

Bars 49.200

Kendall Valentin 9.90

Lacey Rubin 9.875

Natalie Gervais 9.85

Catie Conrad 9.825

Kirsten Gendron 9.75*

Sydney McEachern 9.70

Beam 49.075

Natalie Gervais 9.875

Kendall Valentin 9.85

Catie Conrad 9.80

Lacey Rubin 9.80

Kimberly Ebeyer 9.75

Megan Hultgren 9.725

Floor 49.075

Rachel Slocum 9.90*%

Kimberly Ebeyer 9.80

Sydney McEachern 9.80

Ciara Gresham 9.80

Catie Conrad 9.775

Natalie Gervais 9.75

All-Around

Catie Conrad 39.200


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