Gymnastics win on senior day

Morgan Douglas Sports Editor

Trained. Focused. Fearless. Gymnastics took care of business in its sole home meet of the season, toppling the Rhode Island College Anchorwomen, 189.500-184.650, whilst breaking a program record in the process. 

Last Saturday’s meet was also senior day for the Owls, where all six seniors who were honored as part of the festivities had strong showings during the win at James Moore Field House, improving to 3-2. 

“A lot of emotions,” all-around gymnast Delaney Fields, a senior, said. “It’s like the culmination of your whole career, so it’s mostly exciting, but also sad at the same time. It’s fun to be out here and have a home crowd and have my family here, so it means a lot to be here.” 

The first event, the vault, made program history.  

All six Owls competitors finished in the top six, dominating the event over RIC, with Brooke Burkhart, a freshman, and Hanna Zibde, a sophomore, each scoring 9.775. 

The Owls’ vault score of 48.475 broke the previous record of 48.450 set in 2019, according to the university’s official athletic website, 

The result was much the same for the second event, the uneven parallel bars, with all six Owls competitors taking the top spots in the event, winning 48.075-43.450. 

All-around gymnasts Hannah Stahlbrodt, a senior, and Bianca Leon, a junior, finished tied for first in the bars event with a score of 9.775. 

“Between bars and vault, even though our scores weren’t that high, we were energetic,” Stahlbrodt said. “We were just flowing off each other. One person would hit and then the next and then the next and in gymnastics, that’s the best way you can keep a meet going.” 

Stahlbrodt has been stalwart this season, placing third among Division II gymnasts and entering Saturday’s meet with an All-Around average score of 38.392 per meet. 

Stahlbrodt finished top three in the vault, bars, and beam events against the Anchorwomen. 

The Owls lost the beam event to RIC 47.350-46.500. 

“I got off the beam, I was a little upset,” All-around gymnast Noely Macias, a senior, said. “But I kept a smile on my face, and I knew I had one more event to go and I couldn’t have a bad attitude about it.” 

In the floor event, Macias followed up a relatively poor finish in the beam event with an Owls’ team-high score of 9.650, good for second place, and matched her season-best score, in a floor routine well-received by the audience and judges alike. 

“That’s what I love about gymnastics,” Macias said. “If you did bad on one event, you can come back on another.” 

The most dramatic event of the afternoon occurred during the floor routine, when Stahlbrodt landed awkwardly and had to be carried off, serving as a sobering reminder to how dangerous the majestic sport can be as athletes and spectators from both sides showed their respect for the injured Stahlbrodt. 

The Owls did not win the final floor event, but their final score was good enough to win the meet and a smiling Stahlbrodt was able to return to the floor on crutches to participate in the postgame senior day festivities after receiving medical attention. 

“It’s great to win, but in the whole reality of things, it’s more exciting just to be together as a team and do well and hit all together,” Fields said. 

The Owls had another meet on Sunday at Yale, where they finished in second place out of four teams. 

Gymnastics will next meet on Friday Feb. 18, at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. 

“You have to remember that you trained to get to where you are and you trained yourself to know how to do these skills, so if you just put faith in that, it’s not as scary,” Stahlbrodt said. 

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