Ladies Use Outstanding Floor Effort to Leap into USAG Finals
Thursday, April 17, 2008

SHREVEPORT—The Centenary gymnastics team got off to a rocky start, but battled back to grab second place in the second session of the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships on Thursday evening in the Gold Dome. The Ladies used an exceptional score of 49.100 on the floor exercise to advance to the team finals with a 192.400.


Centenary (No.3) will next compete on Friday at 7 p.m. along with No.1 Texas Woman’s University (194.375) from Session II and No.2 Towson (193.200) and No.4 Cornell (192.150) of Session I.


Centenary took to the bars on the first rotation and, although junior Julia Cornelius would score a 9.650, the Ladies captured a team score of just 47.300. The Ladies then moved to the beam where things took a turn for the worse.


After counting a fall on the bars, Centenary was looking to make up for it with a solid performance on its weakest event, the beam. Things started off bleak as two of the first three gymnasts fell. Cornelius then posted a 9.700, which was followed by freshman Laura Loy’s 9.875. The Ladies scored only a 47.525 and found themselves in fourth place after two rotations.


However, Centenary was coming to the floor where points could be made up with a strong effort, and the Ladies gave just that. Sophomore Whitney Daugherty led off with an impressive 9.800 and two competitors later, Loy landed a 9.750. Senior Meredith Smith tallied a 9.800, freshman Marisa Schneider scored a 9.850 and sophomore Courtney Hawkins blew the crowd away with a 9.900. Her routine would draw the highest score of the day, both sessions included.


With the team score of 49.100 on the floor, also the best on the day, Centenary jumped into second place and needed just a solid showing on the vault to earn a spot in the finals on Friday.


The Ladies had the momentum behind them at that point and sailed to the finals with the second-best team score on the vault. Hawkins again impressed with a stellar 9.900 on the apparatus and Smith notched a 9.800 to seal the deal.


Centenary also advanced six individuals to the event finals on Saturday, but earned a total of nine qualifying spots.


Hawkins nabbed entries on both the vault and the floor, while Cornelius advanced on the bars. Smith qualified on both the vault and the floor as well, but will not compete in the floor exercise because of a three-person limit from any one team. The other two spots on the floor were claimed by Daugherty and Schneider. Loy’s performance on the beam was the top score of the session and earned her the right to move on to the finals.


Schneider also placed fourth in the all-around with a total score of 38.375.