Oshkosh gymnastics competes in Minnesota

Austin Walther

The UW Oshkosh women’s gymnastics team competed in its third dual meet of the season as they lost 183.125-182.425 on the road to Winona State University (Minn.) Feb. 9. The Titans opened the season with a victory over Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.). UWO then competed in a three team meet and a quadrangular as they finished second and third respectively. UWO recently fell to The U.S. Air Force Academy (Colo.), but the girls met a couple of Olympic gymnasts in Colorado Springs which freshman Dana LoCascio. “I thought it was really cool,” LoCascio said. “It motivated me because they came and watched the competition so I wanted to show it off.” The Titans had nine days off between meets, and head coach Lauren Karnitz said they have been working on completing their routines quickly and adding in upgrades so the girls can have higher start values. “We’ve been doing more drills,” Karnitz said. “The drills will make each individual piece better.” The match against the Warriors started a string of four consecutive dual meets to close out the season for the Titans, and Karnitz said the energy in the gym is completely different when there’s only two teams competing. “It gives them an opportunity to feel different kinds of pressure,” Karnitz said. “When it’s quiet they don’t like it and when it’s too loud it can be difficult.” Even though the Titans did not top any of the categories in Minnesota, senior Krystal Walker won the all-around 37.000 to 36.250 against Jade Donaldson of Winona State. Walker said she feeds off of good performances from her teammates. “Having support from my teammates pushes me to do well,” Walker said. “When we do well as a team I always have a high score.” Walker scored a 9.475 for second place in balance beam while three other Titans finished in the top five. Third through fifth place were sophomore Kasandra Stamopoulos with 9.200, sophomore Amanda McBrayer with 9.100 and freshman Bailey Finin with 9.075. Walker said they are starting to hit their stride with four finishers in balance beam. “It’s good news,” Walker said. “We can start progressing towards our goal.” Two Titans earned top five finishes in vault where junior Kimberly Robertson finished third with a score of 9.500 and Walker placed fifth with a score of 9.425. Junior Danielle Turner secured a fourth place finish in floor exercise with 9.475 points. Walker scored 9.350 points and freshman Madison Reiter recorded 9.225 points for sixth and seventh place respectively. UWO’s final top five finisher came in the uneven parallel bars as junior Kylie Fischer recorded a score of 9.125. Five Titans placed from sixth to 10th, including Walker who concluded her all-round with a score of 8.750 for seventh. Multiple girls practice the all-around, but Walker is the only one who has performed it in consecutive meets and she said there’s a lot of work that goes into it. “The all-around is very tiring,” Walker said. “It’s intense, but I enjoy every minute of it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” As a freshman, LoCascio has been averaging over 8.742 points in three events this year and she said Walker and other upperclassmen are fun to work with. “It’s really exciting when I get those scores,” LoCascio said. “I do feel a little pressure to keep getting them, but I feel like that motivates me.” Karnitz said losing by narrow margins to Winona State and Eau Claire has fueled the fire for the team moving forward. “We had four practices within the last couple of days that have been perfect,” Karnitz said. “If we continue to do that, we will definitely be in the top three at the Regional Conference Championship.”