CORTLAND, N.Y. – It wasn't quite enough to qualify for nationals, but the Ursinus College gymnastics team stood tall with one of its finest performances of the season at the NCGA East Regional championship on Sunday.
The Bears finished fifth in the six-team field, just shy of the top-three placing necessary to send the entire program to nationals, but a team tally of 186.150 – tied for their second-best of the season – was a clear mark of the progress the short-handed squad made in its first season under new head coach Kim Valenti.
Brockport (193.700), Ithaca (191.650), and host Cortland (188.175) snatched the three NCGA qualifying spots, with the Red Dragons narrowly edging out fourth-place Springfield (188.100).
The Bears were terrific on the floor (47.775) and vault (47.450), posting season highs in both events.
On the floor, the last rotation of the championship, Ursinus placed five gymnasts with a score of 9.450 or better. Freshman Kaylin Knapsack led the way with a 9.650, the second-best score of her rookie campaign, while junior Skylar Haas and freshman Emma Gable each recording matching tallies of 9.600 to unlock new personal bests. Senior Matisen O'Brien earned a 9.475, and sophomore Hailey DiCicco grabbed a 9.450 to round out the Bears' top five.
Senior co-captain Lindsay Rush took 11th in the vault on the strength of a 9.600. DiCicco was right behind with a career-best 9.575, and Gable equaled her personal high with a 9.525. Freshman Gabrielle Pitt posted a new personal record with a 9.400 and junior Breanna Couts matched her season standard on a 9.350.
Sophomore Autumn Snape equaled her personal record with a 9.650 to tie for ninth on the balance beam with Haas, as the pair finished highest among any individual Bears. O'Brien received a 9.450, and sophomore Alex Lacey was just off her season high with a 9.100.
Sophomore Abigail Schwerdt posted the top score of the day on the vault with a 9.025. Rush (8.975) and Lacey (8.950) were neck and neck, and Gable was close behind with an 8.800.
The NCGA will announce its East Region All-Championship Team on Sunday, which includes the full list of individual qualifiers for the NCGA championship.