Gymnastics nabs second at Pink Meet with highest point total of the season

Media Credit: Dean Whitelaw | Staff Photographer

Senior Cydney Crasa flips on the beam. At the 2020 Pink Meet the Colonials placed No. 2 with 195.375 points.

Gymnastics tallied a season-high in overall points and finished as runners-up at the fifth annual Pink Meet at the Smith Center Friday.

Pittsburgh squeezed out a victory by .325 of a point with a team score of 195.700 to the Colonials’ 195.375. West Virginia and William and Mary brought up the rear with scores of 194.850 and 191.425, respectively.

The Colonials were coming off a first place performance at UC Davis Jan. 14, when they set their previous season-high with a total score of 194.350. GW has improved its team score by 1.6 points since the first meet of the season Jan. 11.

“I was very pleased with their efforts tonight,” head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham said. “I like how they were fighting. Sometimes it’s not pretty, it’s a little ugly, but they were fighting the whole way and that’s what we need to build on for the year.”

No. 24 West Virginia entered the contest as the favorite to win. The Mountaineers came in averaging 195.283 points per meet but struggled at the Smith Center. Sophomore Esperanza Abarca was the bright spot for the team, taking first place in the uneven bars with a 9.900.

Pitt entered the contest as the bottom-placed team in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League in both average and highest score, but the Panthers led from start to finish.  The team took over after the first rotation with a score of 48.775 on the uneven bars.

GW started the meet on its strongest event, the vault. The Colonials came into the meet ranked No. 22 in the country with an average score of 48.900 in the event. Senior Cydney Crasa and sophomore Deja Chambliss tied for third place in individual vault scores with both tallying a 9.800, and the Colonials ended the first rotation with a total score of 48.650.

“I just think when one of them gets out of sync, unfortunately they’re so connected they let it affect them and they need to be a little more disciplined about it,” Foster-Cunningham said. “If somebody has an ‘oh no’ then you can’t have one too.”

Chambliss scored an identical 9.800 on her uneven bars routine, but sophomore Simone Banen stole the show with a 9.875, good for second place among all competitors. Freshman Hannah Munnelly also made the podium, landing a third place finish with a score of 9.850. The Colonials’ effort brought their overall score to 97.650, but they could not close the gap to Pitt’s 97.850.

A team score of 49.075 on the balance beam, led by a meet-high 9.925 from senior Michaela Burton, extended the Panthers’ advantage at the top as the teams prepared for the third rotation.

The Colonials posted a 48.700 on the balance beam, with a standout performance from junior Hannah Cohen, who earned a 9.900. The score marks her return from an arm injury with a personal best and a second-place finish.

“I was training all preseason and I couldn’t put my arm down for a while and this week I really just focused in and I did what I needed to do,” Cohen said. “I knew that we needed that score so it just felt amazing.”

But Pitt continued to perform well and posted a 49.000 team score on the floor. The Panthers’ combined score of 146.850 edged out the Colonials’ 146.400 heading into the final rotation.

Entering the meet, the Colonials had a top-five gymnast in the conference in every event except for the floor routine. The squad showed signs of improvement at UC Davis with a season-high score of 48.725 on the floor and continued that growth with a floor score of 48.975 Friday.

“Especially during practice, I’ve seen a lot of fight and I’ve seen them really putting the work in,” Cohen said. “You can tell by their energy and their attitudes every day that they want to come in and do better.”

The Colonials’ team performance improved with a first-place 9.875 from Crasa, who equalled her career-best floor score in the process. But it wasn’t enough to lift the Colonials over the Panthers.

“I just do everything for my team, so it was just really exciting to put up a big score for them,” Crasa said. “I know that that’s something that I’ve been working really hard for and I earned that.”

The Colonials are back in action on Saturday when they hit the road to face New Hampshire, West Virginia and Brown at 7 p.m.

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