Adversity builds character, and in the case of the UCSB women’s gymnastics team it also builds consistent improvement.
Only three meets into the season, Santa Barbara has already lost two vital contributors due to serious injuries. But if that has dampened the team’s spirits, it sure hasn’t show up in the scorebook. For the third consecutive meet, the Gauchos improved their team score substantially and the momentum continues to build around this young team.
Saturday night UCSB hosted Cal State Fullerton, unfortunately coming out on the losing end with a team score of 187.175 as opposed to the Titans’ 192.600. For the third consecutive meet Santa Barbara’s team score improved, and again it was in drastic manner, improving four points.
“This meet everyone improved on their individual events. Brittany Gard was amazing, as well as Lesley Ross being on the top of her game tonight,” UCSB Head Coach Alanna Trimble said. “I am ecstatic that everyone improved and turned in an outstanding performance on their events.”
The Gauchos were led by their crop of outstanding freshmen again, particularly Lesley Ross and Brittany Gard. Ross placed third on the vault with a score of 9.575 and fourth on the balance beam with a score of 9.725.
The balance beam was also kind to Santa Barbara, as Gard turned in her best performance on the apparatus scoring 9.475. Unfortunately it wasn’t all good news for Gard, who severely injured her right knee while performing her floor routine. Her status remains unclear.
“With the loss of Kristi Starr early this season, it is unfortunate from a team and personal standpoint to lose another top team member,” Trimble said. “Brittany didn’t have the typical freshman jitters; she was working towards her potential and consistently improving from meet to meet.”
The Titans swept first place in all of the individual events, highlighted by the outstanding effort of Kelly Mathiasen. Mathiasen won on the balance beam with a near perfect score of 9.900, as well as taking the title on the vault. Titan Megan Berry won the floor exercise with a score of 9.825, just ahead of teammates Nicole Kasson and Theresa O’Gara. Rounding out the individual winners for the Fullerton event was Joanna Hughes who scored a 9.850 on the uneven parallel bars.
UCSB heads to Colorado to take on the Air Force Academy in a dual meet with the men’s team this Friday. The team hopes that these trials continue to have a positive effect on its performances.
“The team continues to face adversity and numerous challenges, but it has drawn us closer as a team and that has helped us respond well,” senior captain Jen Rudy said.