Entering this season, the Maryland gymnastics team had finished last in each of the three Big Five meets since joining the Big Ten, which determine when teams perform in the following weekend’s conference championships.
Those disappointing showings meant the Terps were one of four teams competing in the afternoon sessions of the championship meets rather than competing in the six-team evening session.
But Friday at Michigan State, Maryland redeemed itself despite not breaking a 196, finishing second and clinching a spot in the evening session for the first time with a 195.7.
Freshman Audrey Barber finished fourth with a 39.35 all-around score, while sophomore Alecia Farina’s 9.9 on bars was the team’s highest individual score of the meet.
Illinois won the meet (196.85), followed by Maryland (195.7), Ohio State (195.15), Nebraska (194.9) and Michigan State (192.825).
The Terps continued to thrive on their best event, bars, with a 49.25, and posted 49.075 on vault and floor, events they’ve been less consistent on throughout the season.
Maryland was held back by low beam scores, though, preventing it from posting a score that would raise its rankings for NCAA tournament qualification. Freshman Karrie Thomas scored 9.5, her lowest beam for the season. Sophomore Kirsten Peterman and junior Shynelle Agaran also struggled with wobbles and posted a 9.475 and 9.55, respectively.
The team scored 48.3 on beam, its lowest collective score of the night. Throughout the season, coach Brett Nelligan has stressed maintaining a strong focus and complete tranquility during their performances.
Still, despite those difficulties, Maryland had its best performance ever at a Big Five meet as it attempts to break into the upper echelon of the conference.