The Eastern Michigan University gymnastics team kicked off its 2015 season with a win over Temple University Friday night. The Eagles ended the night with a 193.925 over Temple’s 187.2.
“Opening up the season with a victory is great. It was nice to get the first one out of the way,” coach Jay Santos said. “I think the girls did a really good job tonight. We definitely made some mistakes and have plenty of room for improvement, but to start off the season with nearly a 194.000, I am really pleased.”
The Eagles began the night on the vault. Senior Anna Willette and freshman Kendall Valentin placed highest in this event and both scored a 9.750. Sophomore Sydney McEachern had the second highest vault score with 9.725, taking third place. Freshman Catie Conrad’s 9.675 tied for fourth with Temple University’s Lauren Capone.
Next, the Eagles headed to the uneven bars where they dominated against the Owls and took the top six spots. Sophomore Lacey Rubin scored 9.75 and took first place on the bars. Valentin took second with 9.725. Willette came in third with 9.7. McEachern performance earned her 9.625 and fourth place. Senior Carrina Lo Bello scored 9.6, and senior Nikki Paterson scored 9.5.
Temple University narrowly defeated Eastern on the beam. EMU placed 0.050 points behind the Owls, but the Eagles still put up an impressive performance. Lo Bello and Conrad led the Eagles with a score of 9.725 and a tie for second place with Temple University’s Capone. Willette had the third highest score with 9.675. Valentin was next with 9.625. Sophomore Natalie Gervais scored 9.425 and took 10th place. Rubin took 11th place with 8.95.
EMU’s gymnasts finished the night with their overall best performance on the floor. Redshirt senior Chantell Loehner may have gone last, but her 9.85 put her in first place in floor performance. It was also the highest score from all four events. Second place went to McEachern and her 9.8. Freshman Rachel Slocum scored 9.775 and placed third. Lo Bello scored 9.725 and tied for fourth with the Owls’ Capone. Miller placed sixth with 9.65. Kirsten Gendron took 11th place with 8.875 points.
Santos was proud of the ladies’ performance on the floor. “We finished the night a 48.800 on floor, which is fantastic. It felt great putting a score that strong on our final event. It's a good start, and hopefully we can build on it, getting stronger as the season goes on,” Santos said.
The Eagles won three out of the four events they competed in Friday night. The all-around winner went to Capone from Temple University. She was the only athlete to compete in all four events.
The Eagles get ready to compete in their first MAC competition of the season when they head to Mount Pleasant Saturday, Jan. 17. While they’re in Mount Pleasant, they’ll go up against MAC rival Central Michigan University along with out-of-conference competitor Seattle Pacific University.