Just as freshman Emilie LeBlanc finished her bar routine on Sunday, the Maryland gymnastics team exploded with cheers and excitement. The Terps were ahead after the bar rotation against West Virginia and Pittsburgh.
The girls high-fived one another as each teammate finished with near-perfect completions.
LeBlanc, along with sophomore Kirsten Peterman, scored the highest individual scores of the night for the Terps, as they finished with a 9.875 on bars.
"For this past meet, my priority was to make my handstands, no matter what," LeBlanc said.
But the enthusiasm didn't last the whole meet.
After bars, the Terps suffered some major losses. Coach Brett Nelligan emphasized that the Terps struggled to finish their landings on vault for the majority of the rotation. On the vault, Peterman and sophomore Deanna Magro scored a 9.7 and a 9.725, respectively, causing the team's overall score to drop. The Terps finished with a 48.8, falling behind as the Mountaineers scored a 49.075.
Freshman Audrey Barber also recognized the team's weaknesses at Sunday's meet. She mentioned that the team needs to strengthen its vault landings, bar handstands and wobbles on beam. The all-around competitor scored a 39.125, which was 0.275 points short of finishing first. Barber's focus for the rest of the season is to improve wobbles on beam and presentation on floor.
"Our focus going in was to try to be aggressive right from start to finish," Nelligan said.
Despite the setback on vault, he was impressed with the team's aggression throughout its other rotations. The Terps scored 49.1 on bars, 48.95 on beam and 48.975 on floor.
"As a team, we've been focusing on keeping our handstands in form and really striving to make those dismount landings," LeBlanc said.