Gymnastics sees improvement

Despite losing, the UWO gymnastics team made strides in the meet, culminating in two event wins and a close loss.

Shelby Howe, Sports Writer

The UW Oshkosh Titans gymnastics team performed skillfully last Friday against UW-Whitewater, but lost to the Warhawks by a score of 187.875 – 185.375. The Titans took away two event wins and collected the fourth-highest team score of the season, an improvement from the winning score of 183.425 the Titans received against Gustavus Adolphus University on Feb. 10.

UWO had successful performances in the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise events on Friday in the loss. The team was able to total 45.725 on the vault, 46.575 on the uneven bars, 47.20 points on the balance beam and 45.875 in the floor exercise at Kolf Sports Center Friday night.

Titan sophomore Marisa Scholtens finished first on the balance beam with a score of 9.525 with Kasandra Stamopoulos not far behind with a score of 9.475, coming in second place. The Titans also earned third-, fifth- and sixth- place finishes in the event, which Scholtens said was instrumental in the team’s overall success on Friday and helped set the tone for the whole meet.

“Although we didn’t win, we made so many improvements this week that makes it that much more exciting to go into competition next weekend,” Scholtens said. “I think our confidence grows with each meet as we settle into our routines.”

UWO sophomore all-around gymnast Baylee Tkaczuk had the top score of 9.675 on the uneven bars and placed second in the all-around competition with a score of 37.125. UWO had other top performers on the bars, as Stamopoulos finished in sixth with a score of 9.55 and junior Bailee Hardy, who hit a new season high, finished in fifth with a score of 9.575 and also tied for fourth place in the uneven bars with a score of 9.575.

Hardy said being able to reach a season-high and have a solid performance going into the regular season finale was very important.

“I compete on the uneven bars and I was able to stick my landing at this meet,” Hardy said. “With that my score was able to contribute to our overall team score, which made me very happy. Each meet we are feeling better about ourselves and know if we can put it all together at the right time we can do it.”

Tears were shed on Friday evening as three UWO gymnastics celebrated Senior Night. The Titans shared memories and hugs while admiring Stamopoulos, Amanda McBrayer and Krysten Zytniowski.

In honoring these three teammates, other members of the team gave gifts to the athletes and reminisced about what they contributed to the gymnastics program and how they embodied what it meant to be a Titan.

Looking ahead

The gymnastics team heads to UW-Eau Claire on Friday, Feb. 23, for the last regular season meet before heading to Minnesota for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship in March.

Head coach Lauren Karnitz said while the season has had its ups and downs, the team has remained strong throughout it.

“Overall we had a better team score than we’ve had at any other Division-III meets, [and] it was a great step forward,” Karnitz said. “I would like to see them continue that this week so then for regionals we can keep moving up. Despite the injuries that we’ve had, they really pushed forward and made the season what it has become, going from seventh in the conference and working our way up to third really shows the hard work and dedication.”

Preparing for regionals is the overarching plan for the team in Friday’s meet, and Karnitz said the team is looking to keep it simple in order to succeed.

“We just want to keep improving our scores, working on the execution of our routines,” Karnitz said. “The goal for Friday is to make ourselves the best we can be for regionals. We’ve been breaking apart floor routines, so I would really like to see them improve on the things that we have worked on. I would like to see improvement on the dance or how they execute their jumps.”