The Gustavus Gymnastics Team celebrated their seven seniors Friday, March 1, in their final home meet of the season and their last competition before they enter postseason.
A week before, the Gusties posted a 183.725-180.325 home duel win over Hamline, highlighted by strong performances from Seniors Sam Ardy and Amanda Malo.
Ardy took first place in three separate events, earning scores of 9.425 on vault, 9.550 on bars, and 9.600 on floor. She took second place in the all-around competition behind her teammate Malo, who scored an impressive 37.450.
First-year Brooke Merila earned all-around third place with a total of 36.775 and took second in the vault with a 9.300.
“Individually, Malo and [Ardy] had great meets. Our entire floor line up was outstanding. [Merilla] had a great day and a career high all around. Jamie Erdely was awesome on floor and in exhibition on beam,” Head Coach Aryn DeGrood said.
Moving to the final meet of the season, the Gusties prepared to welcome UW-La Crosse to the Sponberg Gymnastics Studio.
La Crosse was recently ranked No. 7 in the nation by the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association.
In what proved to be a special night, the Gusties honored Seniors Sam Ardy, Victoria Aycock, Jamie Erdely, Jessica Gerczynski, Amanda Malo, Katy Trunk, and Veronica Vasina.
Malo once again highlighted the meet for the Gusties, tying for first place on the floor with a season-high 9.700. She added a second-place finish on the vault with a score of 9.450 and placed third all-around with a 36.975.
Ardy had a successful night as well, finishing second overall in the all-around with a 37.300.
Her best results included a second-place finish on the beam with a score of 9.400 and a third-place finish on bars with a score of 9.525.
“Our seniors did a remarkable job tonight. It’s easy to let the emotion of the day get the better of you and they didn’t. They showed their poise and why they are such a valuable asset to the program,” DeGrood said.
Merila had another strong outing on the floor, posting a career-high 9.600, while Junior Leah Heilig added a score of 9.550. They finished fourth and fifth, respectively, and gave the Gusties a great boost.
“There were huge performances across the board. We saw lots of career and season highs, particularly on floor. We had a lot of momentum after that floor rotation and that will certainly carry us in to the postseason,” DeGrood added.
The one area where the Gusties struggled was on beam. Ardy took second place and fellow Senior Katy Trunk took fourth with an 8.800, but their team score of 43.600 was almost three points lower than their other lowest-scoring event.
“Three of our four events were really solid. We let our nerves get to us and beam got us tonight. We’re ready to leave that behind us and get it out of our system as we look towards the WIAC Championship next Saturday,” DeGrood said.
As DeGrood mentioned, three of the four events were exceptional. In fact, the scores of 47.550 on floor and 46.225 on vault were season highs and should give the Gusties great momentum moving forward.
Interestingly, the Gusties had four athletes compete in the all-around competition while UW-La Crosse had just one and had most of their gymnasts specialize in one or two events.
Despite the strong scores in three of the four events, the final score was 185.550-183.800 in favor of La Crosse. Regardless of the final score, the Gusties were encouraged by their performance and will look to build on their positive momentum as they head into postseason.
“What an overall great day, capping off the regular season and celebrating our seniors,” DeGrood said.
The Gusties will travel to UW-Oshkosh this Saturday for the WIAC/NCGA West Regional meet.