The Maryland gymnastics team, coming off its highest score of the season—though in a losing effort at Penn State Jan. 21—heads to Iowa Sunday for its second Big Ten matchup of the season.
Similar to Maryland, the Hawkeyes had their best meet of the season Saturday, however they came away victorious, downing Ohio State, 196.175-195.525. Freshman Clair Kaji, who hails from Vancouver and anchored on floor in that meet, tallied a 9.900 to lead Iowa.
Though the loss to Penn State is still fresh, the Terps aren’t dwelling on the result. Freshman Alecia Farina said Maryland was “great, especially for [its] first away meet.”
“This was one of those situations where we did everything right,” coach Brett Nelligan said. “We just came up a little short on winning.”
Junior Evelyn Nee said although she was nervous for her beam routine—this being the first time she anchored on beam this year—the crowd didn’t rattle her. The junior said the Terps have overcome their nerves since the first meet of the season and they have found a rhythm.
“I don’t really pay attention to the crowd when we go to away meets,” Nee said. “We’re going to do great this weekend.”
Penn State’s men’s gymnastics team competed simultaneously with the women’s team Saturday, taking on Army. Nee, who is friendly with some of the players on Army’s team, said it was comforting to have them and her family encouraging her.
Despite Maryland’s performance at Penn State, Farina said there was still work to be done.
“We need to work on the little things, like hitting hand stands on bars, sticking dismounts,” the freshman said.
Farina noted that the Iowa meet will be “even more fun” than the Penn State meet because the Terps will be more comfortable in their second travel experience.
“We know what we need to fix,” Farina said.
Nelligan praised his young team for the way it handled the change in environment. He said the Terps hadn’t yet ended a meet on the beam until last Saturday, but he was pleased with the way they adjusted. He wants the Terps to stick more landings, get more handstands on bars and be cleaner on beam.
“We’ve got our confidence,” Nelligan said. “We need to build off this.”
Though Maryland has yet to reach the 195-point threshold this season, Nelligan said he would like to see the Terps do so at Iowa.
“We’re ready for it,” the coach said. “We proved it this weekend.”