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Gymnastics wraps up season at NCGA Championships

Junior+all-around+Jillian+Freyman+begins+her+floor+routine+in+a+match+against+SUNY+Cortland+on+Feb.+26%2C+2023.+Seven+Bombers+qualified+for+the+2024+NCGA+championships%2C+four+of+which+were+on+the+beam.
Brendan Iannucci
Junior all-around Jillian Freyman begins her floor routine in a match against SUNY Cortland on Feb. 26, 2023. Seven Bombers qualified for the 2024 NCGA championships, four of which were on the beam.

The Ithaca College gymnastics team qualified seven gymnasts to compete at this year’s National Collegiate Gymnastics Association championships in Collegeville, Pennsylvania on March 23. 

Qualifying not as a team but as individuals, the Bombers began their day on the floor during rotation two with SUNY Cortland. Sophomore floor/vault Grace Murray began her routine with a roll and a double backflip to the corner. Murray followed this with a split kick that was followed by a cartwheel into a double backflip that was perfectly finished to end. Murray was awarded with a 9.775, which was tied for 15th in the vault.

Murray placed third in the competition in 2023 and said while she did not place where she wanted to, she was grateful to be in the touted competition.

“I’m really proud of the way that I finished this season,” Murray said via email. “It definitely was not my best score and of course I didn’t place the way that I wanted to. I’m honestly just so grateful to have been able to compete at Nationals this year.”

Junior all-around Jillian Freyman was the other Bomber to represent the team on the floor and shined. Freyman opened with a twist which she followed with a flip. Freyman readjusted and cartwheeled into a backflip, split kicked and hit a running aerial twist to end in the middle of the floor. For her efforts, Freyman was awarded a score of 9.725 and a tied 24th place position.

The Bombers followed that with a performance on the vault in the third rotation. Three Bombers qualified for competition on the vault – Murray, first-year bars/vault Lauren Babineaux and first-year all-around Natalie Steed. Steed was given the first run and began with a front handspring that propelled her to execute an aerial twist into a stuck landing. Steed finished tied for 42nd with a 9.425.

Murray followed Steed with a jump into a handspring off the vault that transitioned into a front flip. The landing was not stuck perfectly and Murray was awarded a 9.100 with a 50th place finish. Babineaux was last to go but ended up having the best performance. Babineaux launched off of a handspring and went sideways off the vault into a front flip. Babineaux landed the routine and scored a 9.450 for a 41st overall finish.

The Bombers had to wait until the fifth rotation for another routine and this time it was just Babineaux representing the team on the bars. Prior to the routine Babineaux laid on her back and focused on the moment. Babineaux, now dialed into what she needed to do, got up and launched to the upper bar and went two rotations around it with a flip to the lower bar. Babineaux executed a handstand on the lower bar and flipped back to the top for another double rotation and double backflip for the finish. Babineaux finished with a 9.600 and tied for 17th in the event.

In the final event, the beam, the Bombers qualified four individuals: junior all-around Kaylie Goodwin, junior beam/floor Abby Chesshire, Freyman and regular Season Average Score leader on the beam, Emily Kobusky.

Goodwin was the lone Bomber to go in the rotation and only managed a 7.650 in her routine, placing her last. Chessire opened the sixth rotation with the front flip landed on one foot. Chessire turned and did two split jumps. A front flip, cartwheel and aerial twist to the mat ended the routine. Chessire scored a 9.650 and a tied 22nd overall finish. Following Chessire, Freyman finished her day with an 8.625 after a flip was not completely stuck, landing her in 50th place.

Kobusky was the last Bomber to compete and ended with the highest placement. Kobusky began with a handstand that transitioned into an executed front flip. Kobusky owned the beam with some split leaps and then ended with an aerial twist to the mat. Kobusky scored a 9.775 for ninth place and just shy of All-American status.

The competition was fierce for the Bombers this tournament and Murray said while it is only Division III, the opponents continue to get better and better.

“The competition continues to be more competitive year after year,” Murray said via email. “The level of difficulty of so many skills that these girls do continues to amaze me. This might be Division III gymnastics but the competition today that I got to be a part of was so incredibly impressive.”

The Bombers will look ahead to 2024 as they will try and get back to the NCGAs and improve on their accomplishments.

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Billy Wood, Sports Editor
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  • K

    KWApr 9, 2024 at 9:51 pm

    A teaching moment… when you don’t know anything about a sport, don’t try to describe the events. Just interview the athletes and coaches to get their perspectives. The paper advisers should have stressed this.

    Reply