WIAC Championship/NCGA-West Regional
|Full Results||UWO: 192.300||UWW: 191.875||UWL: 191.200||UWS: 189.625|
|UWEC: 187.450||WSU: 186.225||GAC: 184.800||HU: 184.400|
|VT: Buffington 9.875||UB: Buffington 9.850||BB: Grant 9.750||FX: Chesley 9.825||AA: North 38.325|
The Big Storyline: In the marathon gymnastics event of the season, Oshkosh, Whitewater and La Crosse all advanced to the NCGA national championships. Oshkosh upset Whitewater in the teams’ first head-to-head battle on the season. Every team competing with the exception of Whitewater posted a season high team score. Emily Buffington had the meet of her life, posting a near-perfect 9.875 on vault. Kara Welsh and Rachel Lewellen continued their trend of matching vault scores with a 9.775 a piece. Kerrie Legault had a season high on her signature event, posting a 9.775 for her unique, stalder-filled bar routine.
Implications: All three qualifiers to nationals posted scores over 191, indicating that all are ready to contend with Brockport for the title. The record breaking season continues for Oshkosh. Are the stars aligning? Will the Titans be able to replicate this performance May 26? That will be what it takes to challenge for a national title. There were so many stand out performances that it is difficult to zero in on just a few. Emily Buffington and Emma Grant both proved that they are worth the hype, taking home three regional titles between them. The race for the national vault title is going to be a tight one with several viable options coming out of the West Region. There were ten athletes who went 9.7-plus on the event. Strong uneven bars performances came from Kerrie Legault and a trio of UW-Oshkosh gymnasts. In the fight for a beam title, don’t forget about Effie Ferguson. She’s had several 9.6-plus performances on the event this year already and just keeps getting better. Andrea O’Connell from UW-Eau Claire secured herself a bid to the national championship on floor with the strongest performance of her young career. .
Records: UW-Oshkosh broke its program record for the second time this season, posting a 192.300 to take the conference title. Emily Buffington’s 9.875 on vault and 9.850 on bars were both career highs. Rachel Chesley surged to take the floor title with a career high 9.825 of her own.
Current Rankings: No. 76 Gustavus Adolphus, No. 78 Hamline, No. 77 UW-Eau Claire, No 67 UW-La Crosse, No. 65 UW-Oshkosh, No. 69 UW-Stout, No. 74 Winona State at No. 64 UW-Whitewater
Why You Should Make Time to Tune in: This week’s competition determines which teams will qualify to the NCGA national championships. The top three teams will gain an automatic bid to the highest competition in Division III gymnastics. The best part is that with rankings this close, there are more than three teams that will reasonably be vying for the qualification spots. Expect to see not only the big skills that larger programs have made famous but unique skill combinations you can’t get anywhere else.
Need More Proof? The one-two punch of Rachel Lewellen and Kara Welsh have been killing the vault game for UW-Whitewater all season. Lewellen even managed a stick on senior night last weekend for a 9.800. Speaking of vault, have you seen Mikala Bugge? This sixth-year brought a new upgraded vault to her final season. Where else is there a front handspring front tuck half in the NCAA? Staying on theme, Kennedy O’Connor jumped into the Winona State lineup as a sophomore with a 10.0 start value of her own. Don’t be surprised when she does a full onto the table instead of doing the standard Yurchenko entry. Gustavus Adolphus’ Sophia Redding has been swinging her way into the history books all season. No really, she is now the owner of the bars program record with 9.700. Her Maloney to overshoot combination is so smooth and strangely satisfying. You won’t want to miss it. Tia Ravara has been approaching UW-Eau Claire’s record herself with her most recent 9.700 on beam. Her lines and split positions are next level. It would be a crime to watch a meet with UW-Oshkosh and not pay attention to Emily Buffington. It’s rare to find a gymnast who can so easily combine the power needed for vault and the swing required for bars. Her front handspring front pike gets better every week. Keep an eye out for her huge double Arabian bar dismount, too. Emma Grant has been leading the way on beam for UW-La Crosse all season and most recently was added back to the vault lineup. Her combination of power and grace makes her a fun athlete to watch. Hamline’s Madeline Sowinski battled back from a foot injury to dominate on floor this season. Check out her solid tumbling and entertaining choreography.