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Howard Makes Gymnast Nationals as Season Closes

Byline: by Caileigh Oliver

Posted: March 28, 2012

Cheers filled Ithaca College’s Ben Light Gymnasium as music blared from the speakers on Sat, March 10 at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Gymnastics Championship. Seven collegiate gymnastics teams from the North East region competed at the event including the Wilson gymnastics team.

It is the end of a busy season for the team, with one home competition and seven away competitions spread across the states of Pennsylvania and New York. According to team co-captain Mandy Grahn ‘13 this was a challenging season: the team consists of just five gymnasts.

Scorekeepers calculate gymnastic team scores by adding up the top five scores from the four events (vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise). Many of the opposing teams involve 15-20 gymnasts, and they frequently use seven gymnasts to compete on each event.

'Small but mighty'

"I didn’t dwell on it," said head gymnastics coach, Kirsten Mull, when asked how she handled competing against much larger teams. "I tried to keep things light-hearted and fun in the gym," Mull says.

The rest of the team echoes that attitude. With a team motto of "small but mighty," the team accepted the challenge, putting an emphasis on having fun at their meets while competing.

"We bonded a lot this season, and we were very supportive of one another," said Mull.

Mull coaches students to have fun

Mull could often be heard telling her gymnasts to relax and have fun before they competed.

For most teams, this is the final competition of the season. However, the three teams with the highest team scores in the conference, as well as the top six gymnasts with the highest scores in each event and the all-around, can qualify to compete at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) Championships. Other qualifiers from National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III conferences come together to compete at the championships.

Team captain, Alex Howard ‘13, qualified to NCGAs for the third time in her career, this time placing fifth in the all-around, meaning she will compete in all four events at the Championships.

"I’m thrilled to have made it as an all-around competitor," said Howard. "I was happy to have achieved a personal goal this year. I couldn’t have done it without my team and coach, though."

State University of New York Brockport hosts this year’s NCGAs in Brockport, Ny., and take place March 23-24 in the Jim and John Vlogianitis Gymnasium.

Last Updated: December 5, 2012

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