Gymnastics aims for first nationals appearance since 2017

Gymnastics team, Photograph Courtesy of Robert Varney

Ellie LaFountain

With five official meets down and five more regular season meets to go, the Ursinus College Gymnastics team is off to an exciting start to their season, and improved much from where they were last year. The Bears have seen an increase in their total score at almost every meet this season and just recently received their highest score (188.95) since 2017 at Springfield last weekend.

To what do they owe their success? Senior standout Skylar Haas said, “Everyone in the lineup this year wants to do well for the team, and our goal is on the bigger picture. A lot of motivation comes from the feeling after hitting a routine and seeing the positive reaction from teammates.” Haas adds, “That is what the team this year is all about.”

Although the Bears are halfway through their regular season, they still have a tough schedule ahead of them. For the first time in at least four years, however, the gymnasts will have a weekend off from official competition and instead participate in a mid-season intrasquad at home. This in-house competition will allow for some of the gymnasts to rest their bodies, while others will get the chance to break into the competition lineups and compete under pressure.

For some, the Valentine’s Exhibition came at the perfect time. With many of the gymnasts returning from injury, this exhibition gave them the chance to show their coaches and teammates their routines that might not have been ready for their season opener back in January.

The Valentine’s Exhibition gives the coaches more insight on how to proceed for the remainder of the season. In fact, the Bears have another interesting weekend following their intrasquad that includes two meets in one weekend. This is the first time the team will experience this adversity as they compete on Friday at the Philadelphia Convention Center with Temple University, West Chester University, Southern Connecticut State University, and Illinois State and then travel to Ithaca, New York for another meet on Sunday against two of their top Division III rivals. This gymnastics-packed weekend will again give the gymnasts and coaches the opportunity to change up the lineups and utilize their depth to prepare for their regional competition later in the season.

The end goal for the Ur-sinus Gymnastics Team this season is to qualify as a team to Nationals which will be held in Ithaca, New York this March. To do this, the team must finish top 3 at the regional competition held at Springfield College. The last time the Bears qualified as a team was in 2017, meaning that this year’s senior class is the only class to have experienced a National Championship meet.

In addition, the Bears hope to send multiple individual competitors to the Championship. Similarly, only two seniors have competed as individuals at Nationals: Ellie LaFountain (writer of this story) became an All-American-on-floor in 2018, and Skylar Hass competed this past year in Wisconsin on the beam. You can follow the gymnastics team throughout the rest of their season through their Instagram and Twitter accounts, @ursinusgym.