Brockport, N.Y. – The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse captured its second straight National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) Championship Friday night in Jim and John Vlogianitis Gymnasium. The Eagles earned the team title with a school record score of 193.650 while The College of Brockport (N.Y.) placed second at 193.000 and UW-Whitewater third at 192.925.
Winona State University (Minn.) placed fourth (191.650) followed by The State University of New York Cortland fifth (188.200) and Ursinus College (Pa.) sixth (186.500).
It is UWL’s record 17th NCGA title in school history and 12th in the last 16 years. The Eagles set school records in the overall (193.650), uneven parallel bars (48.500) and floor exercise (49.225) Friday night. UWL scored 47.925 on the vault and 48.000 on the balance beam.
UWL’s overall score of 193.650 broke the school record of 192.900 set February 21 at the Iowa State University Quadrangular. The Eagles broke the school record of 48.375 on the uneven parallel bars set at the 2015 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championships/NCGA West Regional and the school record of 49.100 on the floor exercise from the 2004 NCGA Championships.
The overall score of 193.650 Friday night also set an NCGA Championship record, breaking the score of 193.025 by UW-Whitewater in 2014.
Head coach Barbara Gibson has led UWL to all 17 of its NCGA titles in her 31 seasons. The Eagles have also won 20 WIAC championships under Gibson, including the 2016 title.
“We hit 24 of 24 sets tonight for the first time in my coaching career,” said Gibson.
UWL entered the final rotation in fourth-place heading into the floor exercise. “I knew if we hit on the floor, we were going to have some big scores,” said Gibson. “We really had clean form and great presentations on the floor.
“It was an unbelievable performance on the uneven bars,” said Gibson. “Carly Kiesow‘s started off so well with a personal-best (9.700) and really let everyone else relax a little bit.”
UWL’s Samantha Wiekamp and Dani Barmore earned NCGA All-America honors in the all-around Friday as Wiekamp tied for second (38.675) and Barmore placed fourth (38.650). Eboni Jackson of Winona State (Minn.) won the all-around title (38.800) while Wiekamp tied for second with two-time defending champion Katie Fiorilli of UW-Whitewater. The top-10 finishers in the all-around earn All-America honors.
It is Wiekamp’s second career NCGA All-America honor after tying for the national title on the uneven parallel bars with teammate Amy Enright in 2015. Barmore earned her first career NCGA All-America accolade with Friday’s fourth-place all-around finish.
UWL’s Elsa Spitzmueller set a school record on the floor exercise Friday with a score of 9.925. Spitzmueller and Jennifer Houle held the previous record of 9.875 with Spitzmueller recording her score earlier this season at the Iowa State Quadrangular while Houle finished with a score of 9.875 at the 2004 NCGA Championships.
“This has been a really special year with some very special student-athletes,” said Gibson. “They have been so committed to being their best on the biggest stage of the season. I can’t say enough about them. This team has been so dedicated and focused all year. They have shown maturity beyond their years.
“We really had great mental toughness tonight,” added Gibson. “They were so poised, confident and were attacking every event. They really fed off each other and built momentum throughout the meet.”
UWL returns to action Saturday, March 19 with the individual event championships starting at 2 p.m. (Central). Wiekamp and Barmore are both set to compete on the vault and uneven parallel bars while Leah Spankowski competes on the vault and balance beam. Enright and Lauren Wilson will compete on the uneven parallel bars while Spitzmueller and Chelsie Richards compete on the floor exercise.