Pioneers place and take home individual event awards from national competition
Heather Hines, Reporter
TWU’s Pioneers performed at the 2016 U.S.A. Gymnastics National Championship, winning awards during the individual events and the team semifinals.
For the past 24 years, the Pioneers have qualified for team finals. Unfortunately, that tradition was not continued this year. At the team semifinals, the Pioneers accumulated a season high of 194.275 points, finishing in third place behind Brown University, who had a score of 195.175, and Linwood University, who had a score of 195.150. While the Pioneers offered an amazing performance, collecting high scores and setting personal records, they did not advance to team finals but did advance to the individual event finals.
First-year Communication Sciences and Disorders major Erin Alderman stated: “It was definitely a bummer not to make it to day two. We were disappointed, but it fuels us for next year to keep pushing harder and start training for nationals, starting now.”
Alderman reached a career high of 9.875 on the floor during semifinals. At the individual finals event, Alderman scored a 9.825 on the floor, placing in a three-way tie for eighth place with Bridgeport University and Southern Connecticut University.
Alderman stated: “It was exciting to represent be able to represent our team on day three. Megan [Gentry], Schyler [Jones], Jenna [Cashmore] and I just had a lot fun together representing our team. [My teammates] were all in the stands, and you could hear them from across the gym. They were all super supportive. My floor team actually all came down near the front. It wasn’t the same as if they were on the floor with me, but I could hear them, and I could see them, and it was great having them with me. We all compete for each other, we do it for the team, and to have them there was really great.”
First-year students Cashmore and Gentry and sophomore Jones also advanced to the individual event finals. Cashmore and Gentry tied for sixth place with each other, both representing TWU with scores of 9.800 on the beam. Gentry also competed on the vault and earned a score of 9.775 and tied for eighth place with the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Alderman shared: “Overall it was a big learning experience for every single person on this team. We grew a lot together. Thirteen of the fourteen of us are coming back next year, so I’m excited to build off what we learned this year and continue to grow together.”