The UW-Eau Claire gymnastics team competed March 5 at UW-Whitewater’s Kachel Fieldhouse. The team competed in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, or WIAC, championships.
The WIAC championships doubled as the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association, or NCGA, West Regional competition. This competition is the final competition before the nationals.
According to the Blugold Athletics page, the gymnastics team earned a team score of 187.450, which became the fifth-highest score in UW-Eau Claire gymnastics.
The sports page also announced that the entry list for the NCGA National Championships has been released. On March 7, Andrea O’Connell was announced as the only gymnast to step forward to represent UW-Eau Claire. However, she said she knew she had the support of her team on her gymnastics journey.
“Everyone has a role on our team,” she said. “Everyone has to kind of step up and I feel like we’re doing that and supporting each other really well.”
The NCGA Championships will be held March 26 at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. The competition will be broadcast live for Flogymnastics subscribers.
However, the NCGA Nationals will be the gymnastics team’s final competition of the 2022 season. The team appeared in a total of six competitions prior to the WIAC Championships, with their first competition against Hamline University being cancelled.
As this season draws to a close after the NCGA Nationals, the gymnastics team will have a total of six seniors on their team graduating this semester. That leaves the other 15 gymnasts on the team to continue into next year’s season.
The gymnastics team came together and created a strong bond, said Tia Ravara, a second-year gymnast. She said the gymnastics team encourages and supports each other.
“We have this desire to do our best no matter what. We do gymnastics because we all love it,” she said. “Other teams do it to try to win, but that’s not what we want. We want to do it because we love gymnastics.
This season also welcomed Jessie DeZiel, the head coach of the gymnastics team. The first year with a new head coach has the potential to change a team’s dynamic. She said her goal for the season was to give the team a win.
According to the athletics page, the team won one meet during its regular season. The team won on February 11 at Gustavus Adolphus College with an aggregate score of 181.650-180.275. The win was the first for the Blugolds in over three years.
DeZiel looked back on the past season and the team with emotion. She spoke about the team dynamics and chemistry at competitions, especially the WIAC Championship competition.
“They announced the placements at the end of the game and they didn’t announce the seventh or the eighth,” she said. “They said ‘in fifth place with one’ and they said Eau Claire. All the girl’s mouths fell to the ground and I would say for me that was the most memorable thing.
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