The Pitt News

Gymnastics, track and field ready for weekend meets

By Brandon Duerr / Staff Writer

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This weekend, two of Pitt’s varsity sports teams will head away from the city to compete in weekend meets. Here is a preview of their weekend action.

GYMNASTICS

The gymnastics team will travel to the home of its East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) foe New Hampshire in Durham to try to pick up a key victory (2-3, 0-2 EAGL). 

The women are looking to build on their performance in last Sunday’s event in D.C. hosted by George Washington University, where they placed third out of five teams with a score of 192.625, less than two and three points behind North Carolina and host team George Washington, respectively.

Junior co-captain Lindsay Offutt, an all-around event participant for the Panthers, says the team is looking to improve this past weekend’s overall score.

“We didn’t get off to the greatest start in our last meet,” said Offutt, who is coming off a career-high in the uneven bars with a 9.750. “We’re looking to improve our overall score from George Washington by around two points. That score is ideal for where we want to be at this point in our season.”

Other junior co-captain Tiara Chadran, a participant in vault, floor exercise and uneven bars, said the key to the team’s success is to feed off each other’s energy to succeed this weekend.

“We really want to work together as a team,” Chadran said. “We’ve had group assignments all week, so we learn to build off each other’s energy and translate that to success in the meets one after the other during the meet.”

Offutt understands how crucial a win against New Hampshire would be, as the Panthers try to build some momentum heading into the middle part of their season.

“It would be a huge confidence booster for us,” Offutt said. “The momentum moving forward for us would be huge.”

TRACK AND FIELD

The men’s and women’s track and field teams also have meets this weekend. They travel to Ohio to participate in the Youngstown State University Invitational today. Field events begin at 2:30 p.m., followed by track at 3:30 p.m.

The Panthers will be one of 20 teams competing in the invitational, including Duquesne, Dayton and West Virginia.

At last week’s Nittany Lion Challenge, the Panthers posted an impressive four first-place finishes and many personal records as well.

One of the first-place finishers was long-distance runner Hillary Boxheimer in the 3,000 meter with a time of 10:13:39. Boxheimer normally runs the 3,000 and 5,000 meter distance, but this weekend will be the first time she  runs the mile since high school.

“My splits will have to be a lot faster, and I will have to be better and faster overall,” Boxheimer, a junior, said. 

For she and rest of the team to succeed this weekend, they will have to focus on their individual mindsets heading into each event.

“It’s mostly mental,” Boxheimer said. “You have to have that mental toughness to go out and do your best and push through for yourself and your teammates.”

Pitt assistant coach Adam Bray says that he has noticed the team improving since the end of last season.

“They have all been working very hard, and that progress and effort really shows,” he said. “Now that we are competing we get to see that improvement in person, and that is a fun thing to watch.”

With 20 teams competing in the YSU Invitational, it can be easy to worry about what the other teams and competitors are doing. However, Bray and the rest of the staff say the key to both their early season success and success in the future depends solely on themselves.

“We have to focus on ourselves, and do that one heat at a time,” Bray said. If we believe in our ability and do what we are capable of, the times will come, and we will be successful.” 

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Gymnastics, track and field ready for weekend meets