The Maryland gymnastics team continued their upward scoring progression in their final EAGL Conference Tournament Saturday registering a season high 195.700 team score. However, it wasn't quite enough to secure the conference title as the gym Terps finished second to the host school, the New Hampshire Wildcats. The Wildcats, who have exceeded 196 on several occasions this season won by posting a score of 196.375. Rutgers, NC State, George Washington, Pitt, North Carolina, and Towson trailed the Terps in the final team standings.
To accommodate the eight participating schools, the squads competed in small rotations with the Terps opening on the floor exercise. While this has been among Maryland's stronger events this season, it's one I think they prefer to come at the end of a meet as they build energy throughout the competition. I think this resulted in the Terps recording one of their lowest scores of the season, 48.925, significantly lower than the 49.125 they registered in their senior day meet last week. Karen Tang led the Terps with a score of 9.850 followed by Ebony Walters' 9.825. Tang's score tied her for tenth in the tournament.
Maryland then moved to the vault. The Terps have struggled a bit this season on an apparatus that projected to be one of their strongest events until All-American Katy Dodds went down early in the year with an achilles injury. Though the gym Terps have worked hard to replace Dodds, it's tough replacing an athlete who last season gave Maryland an average above 9.900 last season. Karen's sister Kathy Tang put up Maryland's best score in this event and her 9.825 was good enough to tie for third place. The Terrapins' score of 48.775 was not among their best of the season and again fell short of the 48.900 they recorded in the final home meet.
For their third rotation, Maryland moved to the uneven bars. This apparatus has developed into one of Maryland's best events during the course of the season and Saturday proved no exception. Following their solid but not stellar performances on the floor and the vault, the Terps threw down their second highest score of the season at 49.050. Elizabeth Manzi again gave the Terps a solid start with a 9.750 just short of the 9.800 she scored last week. Jessi Black improved on her senior day score with a strong 9.850 routine. However, it would be Karen Tang who led the Terps for the second time Saturday. Her score of 9.875 tied her for first place in the meet.
Maryland closed the meet on the ever dangerous balance beam. The Terps have been a bit up and down on beam this season and senior day was definitely a down day as they managed only 48.300 with two gymnasts falling from the apparatus. Saturday was another day entirely. Not only did the gym Terps surpass that disappointing score, they put together their best team score of the season 48.950. Team anchor and beam All-American Stephanie Giameo fell just short of perfection with her 9.90 marking her highest score this season. Giameo finished first on this event. As Maryland's only gymnast participating in the all-around, Giameo's total of 39.225 was good for second place.
After her senior day performance, Manzi said she thought the Terps could be dangerous when they put together their best routines on all four events. If Saturday is any indication, she could be right. Had they coupled their senior day scores with Saturday's score, they would have surpassed 196.000 for the first time this season. As they look to continue a strong finish, the Terps now return home to await word of their placement and seeding in the NCAA Tournament which opens April 5.