In its first six meets of the season, Maryland gymnastics never had the chance to sit a rotation out because it was competing against fewer than four teams. But at the Big Five meet in Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday, the Terps had a bye for the second rotation, which sprung them to back-to-back 49-plus scores in their two subsequent rotations.
The two high-scoring events were on floor and vault, which the team complemented with 48s on beam and bars.
The bye allowed the Terps to regroup and post solid scores in the following couple of events, and they totaled an overall 195.325. Their second straight 195 in a meet wasn’t good enough for a victory, though, as Maryland finished in fifth place among five teams at the Big Five meet.
“We’re never happy with a fifth-place finish,” coach Brett Nelligan said, “but we picked up a good road score to help us stay up in the rankings and give us some time to get people healthy.”
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Although freshman Reese McClure began the Terps’ night with a clean routine on beam, they left the first rotation trailing three of their opponents. Nelligan’s squad finished with a 48.325 in the event, led by senior Tiara Wright’s 9.800.
Wright has emerged as a consistent high scorer for Maryland on beam. The senior has had the top score among her teammates in now six of Terps’ first seven meets.
“We started on beam, and we were a little tight,” Nelligan said. “We didn’t count a fall, but we were a little shaky and our landings weren’t clean.”
Out of the bye, they took the floor and impressed with a 49.300 score. Junior Randi Morris executed on all of her passes and posted a 9.850, which propelled McClure and freshman Emma Silberman to even higher scores directly after.
“We went back into the locker room before floor and just hung out with each other,” Wright said. “We didn’t talk about gymnastics at all, so we could relax and calm down. Then we went out and rocked floor.”
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With its season-best score on floor, Maryland moved to vault with a chance to make a run at the teams that stood in front of them.
Nelligan’s squad followed its high score on floor with another elite performance on vault. A different freshman led the way on the big stage this time, as freshman Aleka Tsiknias scored a team-high 9.900.
Maryland came away from vault with a cumulative score of 146.800, but the team couldn’t catch Michigan, which had already finished with an untouchable 197.950. The Terps went to the bars — where they rank 22nd in the country — and couldn’t secure another score above 49.000.
They closed the evening with a 48.525, which prevented them from surpassing 196.000 for the fifth straight meet.
“There were a lot of positive things from tonight,” Wright said. “As we get ready for next weekend, we’re going to be focused on all the positives.”