Gymnastics’ high team score tops meet loss

Allison Mueller

Emma Cavanaugh / Winonan

On Friday, Jan. 20, the Winona State University women’s gymnastics team traveled to Oshkosh, Wis. to compete against the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. This meet was the beginning of a streak of consecutive victories for the Warriors, followed by a meet that achieved the second highest team score in Warrior program history.

In Oshkosh, sophomore Alyssa Carroll won the floor exercise with a score of 9.475. Eboni Jackson received a score of 9.250 on the vault, taking second. Her all around score of 37.200 earned her second place all-around. The final score for the meet was 182.650, beating Oshkosh’s score of 182.175.

“We had some mistakes but it was only the third meet of the season and we aren’t going to be perfect at every meet,” Jackson said. “We haven’t reached our peak yet, but when we do, I think we will surprise a lot of people.”

Head coach Beckie Rolbiecki agreed the girls performed well, and said she was pleased with the cohesiveness of the team.

“After two events, we found ourselves behind by 7/10ths of a point, and with a young squad like this, it would have been really easy to really self-destruct and fall apart,” Rolbiecki said. “They stayed together, they stayed competitive, they got behind each other, and demanded a little bit more of each other, and so we pulled it out by almost two points. But that being able to rise to the challenge and not crumble is a really important thing for me to see, and for the girls to be aware, that yes you can.”

This “yes you can” attitude carried over into last week’s competition as well.

On Saturday, Jan. 28 Winona State competed in a triad meet against Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo. Jackson continued to shine, receiving first place in a three-way tie on beam with a score of 9.750. Carroll also continued to do well for the Warriors, scoring a 9.650 on beam and 9.700 on floor.

The team ended up taking third place, but very nearly set a school record. The team score of 191.75 was the second highest in the program’s history. The highest score was set last year at the NCGA Championship with a 191.650.

Jackson said the Warriors are unique in that half the team are first-years and there are no seniors.

“I think the freshman are learning how to compete now and they are also looking very good at practice,” Jackson said.

As a junior, this is her third season competing for the Warriors. This season Jackson has been finishing in first place multiple times. However, the Winona State gymnasts compete as a team, as Jackson confirmed.

“I’m very excited to watch the team grow as the season goes on. I want to accomplish making it to nationals as a team, and have multiple people compete individually. I want to personally qualify for nationals as an arounder and hopefully on a single event as well,” Jackson said.

There is a long way to go before nationals, with seven meets still standing between the team and regionals. Regionals will be hosted by Winona State on March 17.

Next up for the Warriors is a meet in Menomonie, Wis. against the University of Wisconsin-Stout on Friday, Feb. 3.

By Emma Cavanaugh