Pitt gymnastics tumbles further in EAGL with loss to UNC


Sophomore Lucy Brett scored a 9.8 on the uneven bars Friday night in a loss to UNC. Anna Bongardino | Staff Photographer

By Bayard Miller | Assistant Sports Editor

Last year, Pitt’s gymnasts won the East Atlantic Gymnastics League title. This year, they have yet to pick up their first conference win.

In a meet that came down to the final rotation, the visiting North Carolina Tar Heels eked out a win over the Pittsburgh Panthers Friday night at Fitzgerald Field House, 194.925-194.450.

Head coach Debbie Yohman said she was let down by the results of what she originally thought would be a considerable contest.

“Well, it was a bummer,” Yohman said. “Just looking at those scores [in all four rotations], we could have beat them tonight. We’ve just got to learn how to hit on beam.”

The beam has been the weakest event for the Panthers all season long and Friday night was no different. Krista Collins, Kelly Burak and Erika Reichert each fell off the beam during their routines and posted below average scores, en route to a team score of 48.075 in the event, the lowest of the night.

After their miscues on the beam, Yohman sent Burak, Collins and Reichert over to the uneven bars area to practice their routines and correct their errors.

“Sometimes, I think [right after a routine is] the best time to for them to correct that mistake, reinforce it and don’t do it again,” Yohman said.

It was not all bad news for the Panthers on the beam, as Lucy Brett dazzled the judges for a score of 9.900, the highest beam score of the night.

“What she did was an aerial cartwheel back handspring, which is really difficult. And she nails it,” Yohman said about the sophomore from the United Kingdom.

Brett attributed her success to practice and preparation during the week.

Senior and team leader Tracy Pearson also put up a strong performance, finishing in first place in the vault with a 9.875 tying for first with a 9.900.

“I’ve been doing this vault for quite some time, so I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting it,” Pearson said. “Going into the floor, it’s my best event and it’s my favorite event. Once you get the crowd going, it makes it so much easier. And having your team back you up routine after routine, it’s a great feeling.”

Pearson usually competes in the all-around for the Panthers, but was kept off the beam lineup because of injuries.

“She’s a little out of her groove right now on beam. She’s hurting. Her hips hurt, her knees hurt, her ankles hurt,” Yohman said. “She’s the one that said to me, ‘I need to get my groove back.’ And I said, ‘We will, next week.’”

On bars, junior Taylor Laymon won an individual title, scoring a 9.825 on her routine. Pitt gymnasts finished first in all four events Friday night, but this was not enough for the team to come away with the win.

Yohman said the loss has more to do with attitude than ability.

“It’s not the depth, it’s just the confidence,” Yohman said, adding her thoughts on the team’s performance at warm-ups. “I was like, ‘Wow. They have confidence. They want to do this. They want a match.’ But then they didn’t carry that through to the meet. They let down a little bit.”

The Panthers’ next competition will be in Philadelphia on Feb. 4, in a four-way meet against Temple, West Chester and Ursinus. The team will be on the road for the entire month of February, but will return home on March 3, to face West Virginia, Michigan State and Towson.

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