Finishing Maryland’s first routine of the night, Sierra Kondo swung with that desired, rare combination of elegance and force that every bars gymnast aspires to have.
She then launched high off the upper bar for a double layout — the same dismount with a 10.0 start value that each Terp in coach Brett Nelligan’s rotation compete.
After soaring through the air and flipping forward twice, it ended with a stuck landing and a score of 9.850.
From then on, it was onward and upward for Maryland gymnastics.
The Terps finished with 196.550 points, their second-highest mark of the season, en route to victories over Temple, Southern Conn. St. and Bridgeport in the Temple quad.
Sanya Glauber posted 9.875 in her bars return to the lineup. Aleka Tsiknias posted a career-high 9.925 and Audrey Barber closed the first rotation with a 9.875 as Maryland tied its season-high rotational score of 49.325.
Glauber feels that she could’ve done even better, and despite a great score, she thinks it can keep climbing.
“I definitely had some mistakes, so it definitely wasn’t the best I could do, and having that confidence and reassurance and the score definitely just kind of makes all the work that I had put in the past few months worth it, it’s just been super satisfying again,” Glauber said.
Tsiknias’ score marked her fifth consecutive 9.8+. Nelligan, who is also the lead coach on bars, is particularly proud of Tsiknias’ performance given her road back to competition.
“She’s been in bars the whole year, but she would tell me, ‘I feel like I just still haven’t hit my good one yet,’”Nelligan said. “Today she kind of was able to put it off together and she’s had a big smile on her face,”
Barber, who scored 39.500 in the All-Around, eclipsed 2,000 points in her Maryland career. With an all-time score of 2,036.700, she sits just 2.400 away from the Terps all-time leader, Rachel Martinez.
That mark will be broken by Barber in the next routine she completes, but Barber says she views it as just another opportunity to compete in the sport she loves.
“I don’t think I look at it any differently. I think I’m just cherishing my last few meets and moments with the team, and definitely think about that more than the points and the scores,” Barber said.
Barber’s highest score was on floor. While the Terps finished with 49.100 there, it was a battle to put up a solid number.
On floor, the Terps got off to a rough start as Alexsis Rubio scored 9.075 due to a sat landing on her last pass and Rhea LeBlanc followed it up with 9.675. But four consecutive 9.8+’s, including Alexa Rothenbuescher’s career-high 9.875 and Barber’s 9.925, turned an underwhelming start into an impressive result.
“For them to respond the way they did just shows how much we’ve matured as a team. And they really handled the next routines with a lot of poise, a lot of confidence — And that was the difference in the night,” Nelligan said
Reese McClure was among the gymnasts who put up a 9.8 or higher. She posted 9.825 in her first meet on floor of the season due to an ankle sprain from December.
McClure competed in all but two meets on beam, but was clearly still working her way back to full strength, as she hadn’t put up a score of 9.800 until Thursday where she did so on both events she competed in.
“It’s definitely a boost of confidence to hit both routines today. I think moving forward, I’m just gonna carry this confidence into each meet to the back half of the season,” McClure said.
The Terps’ strong performance improves their NQS to 195.955, which would move them from No. 33 to 29. They’ll look to carry the momentum from their strong performance in Philadelphia back to College Park, as Maryland hosts a quad of its own on Sunday.