Ladies Land Fourth in USAG Team Finals
Friday, April 18, 2008

SHREVEPORT—The Centenary gymnastics team finished strong on Thursday night to qualify for the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championship Team Finals, but the Ladies would be unable to duplicate the effort again on Friday. Texas Woman’s University (194.700) took the crown for the ninth time overall, while a determined Cornell (193.675) squad finished second. Towson (193.100) placed third and Centenary (192.925) landed in fourth place.


The meet started with a bang for the Ladies as the host team began the night on the floor exercise. Centenary posted a solid 48.975 team score behind a 9.800 from sophomore Whitney Daugherty, a 9.825 by freshman Marisa Schneider, and a stellar 9.925 from sophomore Courtney Hawkins. Hawkins’ score would be the best on the event in the competition for the second straight day.


From there the Ladies moved to the vault, where a 48.600 would have Centenary in first place after the first two rotations. Hawkins landed her second 9.925 of the night on her vault, which would again be the best score on the apparatus for the evening. Meanwhile, senior Meredith Smith earned a very impressive 9.825 with her run.


Things began to take a turn in the third rotation after Centenary scored just a 47.825 on the bars. Junior Julia Cornelius received the Ladies top score of 9.625, but overall the team slid to third place heading into the final event.


On the other side of the gym, Texas Woman’s worked its way up to first place after three events and needed just a fair showing on the floor to seal the win. The Pioneers did more than just an adequate job as they tallied a 49.125 to easily claim the title.


 The race for second was on between Centenary, Cornell, and Towson, who were only separated by eight-tenths of a point, with the Ladies just .05 out of the second spot. Cornell responded with the best showing of the evening on the vault, scoring a 49.025 to secure second.


Towson was on the bars and Centenary the beam as both squads battled each other for third place. The night, however, just did not belong to the home team as the Ladies first three beam workers fell. Cornelius broke the string of bad luck with a beautiful performance that garnered a score of 9.800. Freshman Laura Loy then followed with the best beam routine of the night, which earned her a 9.925, but it would be too little too late for Centenary.


With the team portion of the championship event over, Centenary will send six individuals to the event finals on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Daugherty, Schneider, and Hawkins will take their turn on the floor, while Loy will aim for the title on the beam. Hawkins and Smith will try their luck on the vault and Cornelius will swing for her shot on the bars.