By: John Hack, Staff Writer
Towson’s home opener inside SECU Arena went about as well as it could have. The Tigers pulled off their highest overall score in a home-opening meet, earning a 194.725 total. The tally was also enough to earn a first-place finish in a four-way meet as the Tigers hosted and defeated West Chester, Cornell, and William & Mary.
Despite a strong performance in the first meet of the seasons vs. Penn, head coach Jay Ramirez knew the team had room to grow.
“Basically just working out the kinks from last meet,” Ramirez said. “So, you know, we counted a fall last meet. We didn’t count a fall this time. We tried to go back to the gym and really kinda push different people to do different things in the lineup.”
Towson opened with a solid start on the vault as freshmen Camile Vitoff and Lauren Bolen, as well as senior Ally Wesoly performed Yurchenko fulls, consecutively, and executed well on the landings.
In a Yurchenko vault, the gymnast does a round-off onto the springboard and a back handspring onto the horse or vaulting table.
As a result, the three gymnasts shared a first place finish among the 24 gymnasts competing in the event. The 48.600 combined score on the vault was the highest in the event among the four competing schools.
The Tiger’s momentum from the vault swung them to another first place team finish on the uneven bars, combining for an overall score of 48.650. Freshman Amy Stewart ended her routine with a double layout, earning the Johnstown, Pennsylvania native a 9.825 average; a raise from the 9.700 score she received on the same event in Philadelphia just five days earlier.
“With any competition, you know, you go out, you create your best lineup that you have, you see who’s gonna hit, you see who does well under pressure and actually performs,” Ramirez said.
On the balance beam, Wesoly came up big again, fighting through minor wobbles on a flic-flac step out and backflip before closing with a cartwheel and then dismounting on a backwards salto twist. The effort earned her a 9.800, which was the highest score for Towson in the event. The Tigers also improved their score on the beam from Sunday by 1.325 points.
The team also had just one fall on the beam, which was an improvement from the two they had in their last outing. Senior Melissa Temkov capped off the Tigers impressive performance during the floor exercise. In her routine, the senior from Smithville, Ontario carried out a solid double pike and a double tuck, marking the high point point in her routine that scored a 9.80.
For the second meet in a row, Bolen served as the all-around performer for the Tigers where her efforts earned earned a 38.825, which served as another example in which a Tiger gymnast improved a score from their previous meet against Penn, thus explaining the home-opening record team overall score. The 194.725 overall score was the highest score the Towson gymnastics team has earned since Mar. 24, 2018, when they tallied a 195.675 score in their final home meet of the year.
“Basically we don’t mean to put somebody in all-around. If they earn their spot on lineup, then they are automatically all around if they do four events,” Ramirez said. “So, it’s kind of a weird thing because [Bolen’s] doing it because she is very, very steady, she performs on every event, she hits her routines, and she hits them well.”
The Tigers will look to carry their momentum into Raleigh, North Carolina when they will meet North Carolina State on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.