After the last meet of her freshman year in the NCAA Regionals on Saturday, Maryland gymnastics Kirsten Peterman looked forward to next season.
Peterman plans to train in College Park over the summer, save for a few weeks in July when she’ll be home in Canada. She’s also eager to work out with the incoming freshman class when they visit for camps.
Peterman’s rookie campaign ended on a positive note as one of the four Terps who competed as individuals to the Gainesville, Florida, regional. But Maryland finished in 37th place, missing a team berth as one of the top 36 in the country by .01, and Peterman wants the Terps to use that as motivation next season.
“Honestly I don’t think much needs to change,” said Peterman, who wishes to continue competing all around next year. “We need to continue to be really consistent when it matters. We need to have a couple more ‘wow’ skills with larger difficulty and more expressive dance, just have more fun and come together as a team.”
“We’re not going to let that .01 happen again,” she added.
Coach Brett Nelligan agreed, because Maryland has missed regionals as a team for the last two seasons after making seven straight appearances.
“We’ve got to get back to qualifying for the postseason as a team,” Nelligan said. “That will be our first focus. Everything after that will be up and above.”
Nelligan spoke to Peterman and freshman Alecia Farina after the meet and urged them to become leaders next year and to ensure the incoming freshman class acclimates to the college level quickly.
“Alecia [Farina] and [Peterman] are going to remind everybody, ‘Keep pushing unless you want to miss it by .01,'” Nelligan said. “They’ll make it clear, no doubt.”
Meanwhile, Saturday marked the last meet for seniors Sarah Faller and Emily Brauckmuller. Still, Faller said she’ll continue following the program.
Faller has competed in gymnastics since she was a child, so she said she’ll miss it but will come to practices and home meets when she’s around. She plans to live in Washington with senior Leah Slobodin after they graduate.
“This team has been a huge part of my life and I’ll remember this experience forever,” Faller said. “These girls are like my sisters.”
Nelligan said he would welcome the seniors whenever they want to visit next season, but Faller is ready to watch her younger teammates fill her leadership role.
“I’m excited to see how far they come,” Faller said. “The freshmen this year did an awesome job of standing up and being leaders and helping the culture of the team. We had a lot of new faces this year. I’m excited to see who steps up as leaders. It’ll be a different dynamic watching from afar.”