Ladies advance to Team Finals
Friday, April 12, 2013 | by Nathan Yacovissi

SHREVEPORT, La – The Centenary gymnastics team advanced to the 2013 USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships team finals claiming second place with a 193.975 finish Friday evening at the Gold Dome.

For the second competition in a row, three of the four event scores were season bests for Centenary.

After struggling last time on beam, the Ladies opened the night with a season-high 48.750. Leading the way was Meg Crowley (9.825), breaking her personal best from senior night in the Gold Dome against Alaska and Winona State. With all scores over a 9.625, a quartet of gymnasts hit season bests including: Jessica Lieblich (9.800), Kellie Slater (9.725), and Stephanie Strickler (9.725).

Another event-high was on floor with the lowest score being a 9.600. Crowley (9.875) once again led with the highest for the Maroon and White and tied a career-high set last meet also at the Gold Dome. Senior teammates, Lieblich (9.800) and Christy Martinez (9.775) matched personal bests, while Strickler (9.75) set one for the second straight competition.

For the third straight event, the Ladies posted a season-high on vault led with a career best by Robyn Price (9.725). Slater matched her career-high, and Lieblich (9.650) and Amanda Holt (9.650) gave season bests. Martinez (9.650) rounded out the senior trio with a nice score contributing to the event feat.

Coming off a season best on uneven bars last time, Centenary scored worst, but remained tough to finish at second place. Strickler (9.750) and Martinez (9.750) led the Ladies on the apparatus, and Martinez matched a personal best on the year. Price (9.675) and Crowley (9.600) scored well on the rotation too.

After posting the highest score of the year at the Midwest Independent Conference Championships two weeks ago, Centenary (193.975) reset that record to advance to the team finals on Saturday.  

Bridgeport University (195.450) won first in the second session and had the highest score of all teams on the day.

Centenary and Bridgeport join Texas Woman’s University (194.100) and Brown University (190.825), who finished first and second respectively in the opening session. All four teams advance to the final team session Saturday night.

Bridgeport gymnast, Sasha Tsikhanovich (39.375), won all-around on the day, while Pennsylvania’s, Kirsten Strausbaugh (39.200), took second. Also from Bridgeport, Lissette La Fex (38.975) finished third.

Spencer Jones (38.900), Dana Bonincontri (38.850), Price (38.775), Sydney Clark (38.775), and Shannon Escarra (38.750) rounded out the rest of the top eight finishers.   

Several gymnasts qualified for the event finalists on Sunday. Crowley and Lieblich made if for Centenary on floor. Other qualifiers for the event include: Kristen Edwards (Texas Woman’s), Spencer Jones (Texas Woman’s), Stephanie Repp (Texas Woman’s), McKenna Archer (Cornell), Katie Hawthorne (Air force), Alexandra Stych (Air Force), Tara Field (Yale), Monica Mesalles (Bridgeport), Kirsten Strausbaugh (Pennsylvania), Caitlin Perry (Bridgeport), and Sasha Tsikhanovich (Brideport).

On vault, qualifiers were: Bethany Larimer (Texas Woman’s), Amy Winczura (Texas Woman’s), Jessica Wallander (Air Force), Sarah Hein (Cornell), Rachel Zabawa (Lindenwood), Emily Lutfey (Brown), Mesalles (Bridgeport), Tsikhanovich (Bridgeport), Dana Bonincontri (Pennsylvania), Rebecca Brady (Southern Connecticut State University), and Carissa Lim (Pennsylvania).

On uneven bars, qualifiers were: Linnaea Hance (Air Force), Jessica Hanner (Air Force), Heather Zaniewski (Temple), Jones (Texas Woman’s), Hawthorne (Air Force), Melanie Jorgensen (Cornell), Bryn Larson (Seattle Pacific), Megan Milavec (Pennsylvania), Bonincontri (Pennsylvania), Kamri Riles (Bridgeport), Strausbaugh (Pennsylvania), and Tsikhanovich (Bridgeport).

Finally qualifiers on beam included: Ciara Maradiaga (Texas Woman’s), Zabawa (Lindenwood), Archer (Cornell), Larimer (Texas Woman’s), Jones (Texas Woman’s), Tsikhanovich (Bridgeport), Strausbaugh (Pennsylvania), Lorraine Galow (Bridgeport), Corrine Wise (Seattle Pacific), and Alicia Floyd (Lindenwood).

Day two of the USA Gymnastics Nationals continues Saturday, Apr. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Gold Dome.