Springfield, Mass. – March 25, 2018 – There were four Division III women’s gymnasts that were crowned champions at last night’s 2018 National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) National Championship Individual Event Finals, hosted in Springfield College’s Blake Arena.
In addition to four student-athletes winning national titles, the top eight placers on each events earned All-America honors.
Starting on vault, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Dani Barmore was crowned a national champion as she produced a score of 9.825, and was closely followed by Brockport’s Candis Kowalik, who notched a 9.800. Tying for third was Brockport’s Stephanie Mager and La Crosse’s Samathan Wiekamp with matching scores of 9.775, while Wisconsin-Stout’s Shaquilla Payne took fifth with a 9.725. Wrapping up the top eight was Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Lauren Marshall (9.700), Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Tori Erickson (9.675) and Cortland’s Rachel Filipski (9.650).
On the uneven parallel bars, Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Baylee Tkaczuk won her second-consecutive national title as she produced a 9.850, which was also an NCGA National Championship Record, while Amy Enright of La Crosse followed closely with a 9.825. Tying for third was La Crosse’s Lauren Wilson and Whitewater’s Lisa O’Donnell, who notched 9.775’s, finishing ahead of Brockport’s Miranda Shaine, Eau Claire’s Hannah Lewis and Wisconsin Stout’s Sierra Beaver, who all tied with a 9.750. Wrapping up the top eight was Springfield College’s Jess Clemens with a 9.700.
On balance beam, La Crosse’s Sam Weyker was a clear-cut champion with a blistering score of 9.825, while Whitewater’s Kate Mierow, who produced a 9.775 was second overall. There was a three way tie between Kowalik, Cortland’s Emma Schulz and Whitewater’s Franchesca Hutton, who all scored a 9.750, while Tkaczuk was sixth with a 9.725. Wrapping up the top eight was Clemens in seventh with a 9.700, while Cortland’s Bailey Gildemeyer and Ursinus’ Amanda Palladino tied for eighth with a 9.675.
Lastly, in the floor exercise, Springfield College’s Tali Twomey won a national title in the event with a 9.900, while Kowalik earned her third All-America honor with a score of 9.875. Carolyn Nichols of Ithaca and Whitewater’s Acacia Fossum tied for third with a 9.850, while Brockport’s Brittany Vasile and Ursinus’ Eleanor LaFountain tied for fifth with a 9.825, while Mager and Hutton were tied for seventh with a 9.800.
In addition to crowing four national champions, Hamline’s Doug Byrnes was recognized as the 2018 NCGA Coach of the Year, while La Crosse’s Samantha Wiekamp was the 2018 NCGA Outstanding Senior Athlete Award Recipient.
In his 19th season as a Division III gymnastics coach, Byrnes led his team to new heights, earning team qualification to the NCGA National Championships after a top three finish at the WIAC Championships in early March. On Friday night in the 2018 NCGA National Championship Team Competition, Byrnes helped lead his squad to a new program record with a team score of 190.000.
Coming into this past weekend, Wiekamp had a long list of accolades, including five All-America honors and a pair of national championships on the bars and on vault. In 2017, she placed eighth in the all-around competition to earn All-America honors, before leading her team to a second-place finish at nationals. As a freshman in 2015 and a sophomore in 2016, she also helped her team win a NCGA National Championship behind her dominant performances.