Without two key pieces vs. Nebraska, Maryland gymnastics is focused on what it can control
Kirsten Peterman celebrates her performance on the high beam during the gymnastics meet against Illinios at Xfinity Center on Feb. 2, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)
Over Kirsten Peterman’s four years with Maryland gymnastics, her consistency — both in terms of availability and production — has been an asset to her team. And thus far in 2020, Peterman has averaged a score of 9.7625 on the uneven bars and has featured in every meet.
Peterman has made her mark over the past few campaigns posting solid scores in front of her star teammate, junior Audrey Barber. But in the team’s upcoming meet with No. 14 Nebraska on Saturday, that stalwart duo will be out of the lineup.
Barber will miss her second straight contest because of an ongoing academic issue, and Peterman will be out for her first meet of the season due to injury. So ahead of their second-straight top-25 matchup, the Terps aren’t worried about what’s out of their hands. The focus is on the gymnasts who will be competing Saturday.
“No matter if we have a record-breaking weekend, we want to be working on the following weekend,” coach Brett Nelligan said. “We can’t be worried about things that are out of our control.”
Without Barber against Illinois on Sunday, Maryland managed to bounce back from its first loss of the year with a 195.475-193.950 triumph over the Illini. Nelligan’s squad got by on the backs of freshman Emma Silberman and senior Tiara Wright, giving the team hope that they can replicate that effort without key pieces against Nebraska.
Silberman made her collegiate debut on beam last meet, and the freshman delivered with a 9.800. She was prepared for the suddenly altered lineup.
“I’ve been doing exhibition on the beam before I got put in this week, so I felt prepared,” Silberman said. “I wanted to be confident, and I was today.”
Now that two of its top gymnasts will be unable to compete, Maryland will have another fresh face on the floor. The Terps took change in their stride Sunday, however, and Nelligan praised his gymnasts for their resilience in Barber’s absence.
“I told them today was just another opportunity for us to be resilient,” coach Brett Nelligan said. “We had lineup changes, but we can adapt and we can handle anything that comes our way. That’s what being resilient means.”
With the help of Peterman, Wright supplied senior leadership to the Terps at Xfinity Center on Sunday. Wright put up a pair of 9.850 scores on bars and beam, evidence of her veteran experience.
And Wright believes that determination can, again, will Maryland to another strong showing in the face of adversity.
“We did really well without Audrey because we always know how to push,” Wright said.
Nelligan expressed the same sentiment during the week, when the team was unaware of Barber and Peterman’s status for the weekend. With or without two of their top performers, Maryland is only focused on what it can control. And for Saturday’s meet with Nebraska, that means pushing its available gymnasts to fill the void.
“We talked about the need to keep pushing to prepare us for postseason mentality,” Nelligan said. “It’s all about the attitude of never being satisfied.”