Although the gymnastics team had a rollercoaster season, it had higher hopes than its disappointing fifth place finish at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships.
“ECACs was tough for us. We started off really great on vault and then we headed to bars and only had three hits. Then we went to beam and only had three hits. Then we went to floor and only had three hits,” sophomore Jessica Bolduc said. “It’s kind of devastating that we didn’t perform to our utmost best at this meet and didn’t make it to nationals as a team.”
This is only the second time in 27 years that the team hasn’t placed in the top three. Bolduc said that the team’s overall goal was to make it to nationals as a team, but the good part in the disappointing finish, is that 11 individuals still qualified for nationals. Bolduc gathered four All-American titles at the meet and junior Kailee Spusta received one as well on the floor exercise.
“Just because we didn’t qualify to nationals as a team doesn’t mean that the whole season was terrible,” senior co-captain Emily Graber said. “We worked hard as individuals and as a team, we did all the right things all season long, and it just didn’t happen for us on that one day.”
One of the best moments for the athletes was their last meet of the season in Ben Light Gymnasium. The Bombers beat its rival, SUNY-Cortland, posting its highest overall score of the season, all while honoring the seniors.
“The best moment for the team this year was when we beat Cortland,” Spusta said. “It was our season high score and the meet was a blast- it’s always fun to beat Cortland. At that meet, our team really came together and everything clicked.”
The South Hill squad had two early victories followed by a string of losses that were upsetting to the team’s morale. However, the team fought back at the Harriet Marranca Memorial Invitational as they beat No. 1 SUNY-Brockport and No. 14 Wilson College, losing only to No. 6 SUNY-Cortland. The Bombers then won the last three competitions of the season and set its sights on the ECAC Championships. Bolduc said the team’s performance in meets fluctuated and it only really achieved the best scores on all events at two or three meets.
“We can definitely improve by not just relying on our ability to conquer and win. We need to go into every practice as if it were a meet,” Bolduc said. “However, we had individual goals that were to fix two tenths in our routines, and I believe that was an achieved goal.”
Even though the overall team victories varied, the women individually did some great things.
Freshman Chelsea Robie was a breakout star on bars, while freshman Katie Sampson came back strong from a foot injury at the beginning of the season, to dominate on the floor exercise.
Another strong freshman presence came from Erin Roberts on the vault. Bolduc, and fellow sophomore Kay Gordon, competed all-around in almost every meet this season and placed in the top 10 numerous times. Sophomore Kim Callahan scored an amazing career-best 9.700 on balance beam at the meet against Cortland.
Spusta was a staple all season long in the floor lineup with her crowd rousing routine. Seniors Emily Graber and Rachel Taylor both had strong showings on bars and vault during the season, while fellow senior Brianne Sullivan had solid showings on beam and floor. Although the Bombers had some great individual moments this year, it was still a tough season as a team.
“For next year I think we are going to focus on being ready earlier and being more confident with our gymnastics,” Spusta said. “Those, combined with the amount of talent our team has will make us a very strong team.”