Pitt gymnastics wobbles to Brawl loss

By Laura Veith

The Pitt gymnastics team made the short travel to conference rival West Virginia on Friday… The Pitt gymnastics team made the short travel to conference rival West Virginia on Friday night, hoping to claim its first win of the season. With a small lead of 0.3′ going into the final rotation, the Panthers took to the beam. But costly wobbles caused a 194.775-192.700 Mountaineer win. ‘The girls tried so hard to hang on,’ said Pitt coach Yohman after the meet. ‘They weren’t going to fall off that beam. They did so well, but we just have to work on the small things.’ Despite the loss, the women showed improvement with seven gymnasts scoring personal highs and two team season-high scores on both the beam and vault. In the opening rotation, co-captains Alix Croop and Dani Bryan set personal highs on the bars. Tying her career high, Croop tallied a 9.825 for second place, while Bryan scored a 9.675 ‘mdash; also a season high. The Panthers finished off the vault with a season-high score of 49.125, as Bryan led all with a 9.900. Teammates Molly Moyer and Alicia Talucci followed closely behind with scores of 9.825 and 9.850. Senior Anya Chayka finished with a 9.800, tying her career high. Taking to the floor for the third rotation, the Panthers posted a season-high mark of 49.00. Once again, Bryan led the way with a career high 9.875 and a second overall standing. Croop and Shannon McConnel also set season-high scores. Croop added a 9.850 and McConnel followed with a 9.800, giving the Panthers a 0.3 point advantage going into the final rotation. Yet problems on the beam and a strong final rotation for the Mountaineers led to the Panther loss. ‘They were just nervous out there,’ said Pitt coach Debbie Yohman. ‘But we showed near championship caliber.’ Bryan said that even though Pitt is still winless, the team morale hasn’t been affected. ‘We set the bar really high this season,’ she said. ‘We have all the skills and talent to win the [conference], we just have to work on consistency and we can do it.’ The Panthers will host North Carolina State on Sunday at Fitzgerald Field House at 1 p.m.