The GW gymnastics team entered Saturday’s 1998 NCAA Southeastern Regional Championships in Athens, Ga. as the sixth seed at the meet.
When the meet was over, the team had finished in sixth place with a team score of 191.150 in what was most likely the final competition of the season for GW.
The University of Georgia, the host school, won the Southeastern Regional crown by shattering the record for team score in an NCAA Championship meet (198.075) with a score of 198.575, beating out the second-place squad from the University of Florida (197.075). As the regional champion, Georgia earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships to be held at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion April 16-18.
While five teams get automatic bids to the national tournament by virtue of winning their respective regions, seven at-large bids also are up for grabs. GW’s hopes of earning one of those seven coveted spots were badly damaged by its low score Saturday, as the team finished ahead of only the University of Maryland (190.100), and well behind of the fifth-place team from the University of Kentucky (192.150).
GW, the Atlantic 10 Conference champion, put together mediocre performances on all four apparatuses at the meet, with a low score of 47.125 on the uneven parallel bars and a 48.375 on the floor exercise. The squad also lacked any outstanding individual performances that might have lifted its team scores. No GW gymnast earned a score higher than 9.775 at the meet.
The Colonial gymnasts started the meet poorly with a 47.325 on the balance beam in the first rotation, digging an early hole for themselves. Seniors Lisa Gruber and Alexis Hrynko turned in solid performances with scores of 9.750 and 9.650, respectively, but GW had to drop an 8.850 and count a 9.225 and a 9.200 in the first rotation in a rough start.
GW came back with its best rotation of the meet on the floor exercise after a bye in the second rotation. The five scores that counted from GW’s six performances on the apparatus were all 9.600 or higher, led by senior Shari Doulman’s 9.775.
In the fifth rotation, GW registered a 48.325 on the vault. Once again, while the Colonial gymnasts had no poor performances in the rotation, most of the scores hovered around 9.600 and 9.700, with Hrynko recording a team-high 9.750.
A shaky performance on the uneven bars capped GW’s meet. Senior Siobhan Haney scored a 9.700 on the bars, but two Colonial women scored less than 9.000 in GW’s worst rotation.
Hrynko and freshman Darden Wilee took part in the all-around competition, but neither was able to come very close to Georgia junior Karin Lichey’s score of 39.875, which was a record for an all-around in an NCAA Championship event and earned her the individual title. Hrynko scored a 38.575 on the four apparatuses, while Wilee compiled a total of 38.075.