Maryland gymnastics looked lost at the Big Five meet midway through the 2024 season.

The Terps started with their worst uneven bars score of the year and failed to regain success on the balance beam. Coach Brett Nelligan’s squad ultimately finished in last place with its worst score in exactly one year, 195.100.

But the Terps’ frustration with their performance at the competition eventually drove the program to a historic end of the season. The Terps finished the season with a 196.790 national qualifying score — their highest in program history.

“We left that meet disappointed,” Nelligan said. “That was kind of a turnaround moment for everyone that was like, it’s time for us to let our true selves come out.”

The second half of Maryland’s season included a 197.300 score, the second-highest mark in program history. Nelligan’s squad earned six of the program’s top-20 all-time scores in 2024, with five coming consecutively toward the end of the season. The Terps also finished with the second-highest NCAA regional score in program history.

Maryland’s run had two scores over 197. The Terps opened March beating their first ten opponents and finished the month with an 18-5 record. It included a program-best fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships.

Nelligan’s team’s sudden switch came at a pivotal moment in the season. Maryland averaged just 196.0375 in its first six meets in a conference where mid to low 196 scores weren’t enough to win consistently. The Terps earned low scores with inconsistent performances on uneven bars and balance beam.

[Emma Silberman ends Maryland gymnastics career with spot in NCAA Championships]

Natalie Martin called the Big Five meet a low point for the team. She added that they shifted their mindset to positivity despite a poor start to the season.

“We tried to make gymnastics fun again,” Martin said. “At the end of the day, this is a sport. We do this for fun so showing gratitude at every moment, having fun, that’s what this team is about.”

The freshman said her teammates implemented more engaging activities such as a slideshow of funny moments throughout the season. Little bonding moments like these, she added, made them realize they do their best when they’re having fun.

Nelligan said he and his coaching staff thought their team was getting too critical of themselves and implemented a more fun and competitive environment in practice. He said the Terps did a great job translating that energy to in-meet performances.

With help from a revamped team spirit, Maryland went on to earn multiple records in 2024.

The Terps also garnered numerous individual accolades. Emma Silberman posted a career-high and NCAA regional program record 9.950 on vault at the Gainesville regional and became the first Maryland gymnast to compete at nationals since 2001. Alexa Rothenbuescher earned five floor exercise scores of 9.925 or higher with consistent, high-scoring tumbling performances.

Maddie Komoroski, Rothenbuescher and Martin were all named to the All-Big Ten second team, the first honors in their careers.

[Maryland gymnastics ends season with a 196.350 and a third-place finish at NCAA regionals]

Martin also scored a 9.925 on vault, a top 10 tally on the event in program history. In the following meet, she tied the highest beam score in program history with a 9.950.

“Everything that we have gone through this season and we still came out on top,” Martin said. “We are going in the gym, working 10 times harder than we ever have and I think that it proves that we are not done yet.”

Nelligan and Martin both said finishing first at the morning session of the Big Ten championships was a highlight of the season. Martin said she hopes the team can replicate that same production and more in 2025.

Maryland will rely on younger gymnasts in 2025 as key players like Silberman and Rothenbuescher leave the lineup. It opens new roles for other gymnasts to step up, and potentially Martin’s all-around debut. Nelligan said Martin’s uneven bars appearance is possible as she competed in three events to begin her collegiate campaign.

The Terps will also look to rising seniors Josephine Kogler, Rhea LeBlanc and Victoria Gatzendorfer to continue success on multiple events. Maryland will lean on them for the program’s continued growth, highlighted by its surge in the second of half of 2024.