Tigers finish third at SECU
In their 28th annual Shelli Calloway Memorial Invitational on Saturday afternoon, the Tigers fell short of their 11th consecutive Invitational championship, finishing in third place with an overall team score of 189.375.
The Cornell Big Red (191.925) started off the competition with a 48.275 after the first rotation, but only held the lead up until the last rotation when the Temple Owls pushed ahead with a 47.775 on bars, giving them an overall score of 192.325. The result also won them the Invitational. The Ursinus Bears finished in fourth with an overall team score of 183.775.
Towson has won its 24 out of 27 previous invitational meets, making this the first time since 2002 that the Tigers did not win the Invitational.
The Tigers struggled to post high scores during the first two rotations in vault and uneven parallel bars.
“I think we had some mistakes we didn’t need on the two events and we let some of the negativity of that creep in and it affected our energy and that’s what happened from vault to bars,” Head Coach Vicki Chliszczyk said. “We just can’t let mistakes and negativity affect our
emotions in a meet.”
Cornell took over vault, having three of its gymnasts place in the top three. Alicia Bair finished first with a 9.750 while freshman Bailey Gallagher posted a 9.650, putting her in fifth place. As only a freshman,
Gallagher has proven to be one of the Tiger’s top vaulters.
In the second rotation, the Tigers continued to struggle on the uneven parallel bars, posting an overall event score of 46.525.
Lexi Schupp of Cornell finished first on bars with a 9.800 score and Temple’s Reagan Olivieri not far behind in second with a 9.775. Junior Samantha Lutz tied for fourth posting a 9.700 while sophomore Vicki
Vesecky placed seventh with a 9.550.
“Coming off a week of bars being good, especially in West Virginia, the ability is there,” Chliszczyk said. “I think they let the frustration from vault affect their performances.”
Leading into the third rotation, the Tigers had the second highest team score on beam with a 47.025. Gallagher led the Tigers with the teams highest beam score of 9.725, placing second. Junior Lauren Ross
placed third with a 9.700 while Lutz finished fourth with a 9.675.
“With every single meet Sammy is getting more confident and more consistent,” Chliszczyk said. “This year we’re seeing it a whole lot more on beam, which is making a difference in her all-around score.”
The Tigers gave their strongest performance in their last rotation on the floor exercise posting an overall 48.075 event score. Gallagher led the team on floor tying with Cornells Krystin Chiellini for second with a
9.725. Lutz contributed with a 9.700, which tied for fourth place.
“We all work so hard in the gym each week focusing on giving 100 percent so that regardless of the outcome, we can look back knowing we gave it our all,” Lutz said. “It feels good to see the hard work paying off.”
Also contributing to the teams overall event score was junior Nicolette Vignola with a 9.625 and Ross with a 9.575.
Lutz led the Tigers in the all-around competition, finishing with a 38.500 behind Olivieri who posted a score of 38.750.
“The last two meets she [Lutz] hasn’t warmed up very well, but she was able to not let that affect her meet,” Chliszczyk said. “When she gets into meet mode, she’s serious and tries to block out all the distractions and any self doubt that she has.”
Also finishing strong for the Tigers in the all-around competition was Gallagher with a 37.850, giving her a fourth place finish while Ross followed behind with a 37.400.
Ross has continued to be an impressive gymnast for the Tigers, averaging a 38.167 in the all-around competition.
“Bailey is a very talented and beautiful performer,” Chliszczyk said. “The floor and beam performances she gave yesterday are what we know she has and what we know she’s able to do.”
The Tigers return to action Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. as they host William & Mary and New Hampshire at SECU Arena.