NORMAL, Ill. — TWU senior Brittainy Johnson tied for first on vault and uneven bars and junior Spencer Jones tied for first on floor exercise to help the Pioneers to a second-place finish at the Midwest Independent Conference meet Saturday.
TWU posted a 194.500 team score and finished behind Southeast Missouri State (195.275). Lindenwood (194.250) placed third and was followed by Illinois-Chicago (193.525), Illinois State (192.450) and Centenary (191.450).
The Pioneers’ bars team set a school record with a 49.325. The old mark of 49.300 was set March 19, 2005, against Auburn.
The Pioneers posted a 48.725 on floor, 48.700 on vault and 47.750 on balance beam.
“I am extremely proud of the bars team for their record-setting performance,” TWU coach Lisa Bowerman said. “There was a lot of good stuff out there tonight, and it was a very competitive meet as always. We were in a great position going into our last event; however, we had mistakes that cost us big time. It certainly leaves a sour taste in our mouths to end the meet that way. At this point we have to bounce back and use it as a motivation to train harder to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”
TWU started on floor in the first rotation. Jones led the team with a 9.850 while seniors Brittany Montalbano and Amy Winczura each posted 9.800. Jones shared the title with Chelsi Hamilton of Southeast Missouri.
The Pioneers moved to vault, and Johnson was the team leader with a 9.825 while Winczura scored 9.800. Johnson shared the title with Sarah Fisher of Illinois State and Southeast Missouri’s Kimmie Pickerl and Ashley Thomas.
After a bye in the third rotation, TWU had five of six gymnasts score 9.850 or better on bars. Johnson once again led the team with a career-high 9.900, followed by senior Courtney Cochefski (9.875). Seniors Bethany Larimer and Victoria Cochefski and freshman Katie Simpson each scored 9.850.
It was a new career high for Victoria Cochefski and Simpson, while Larimer tied her career mark.
Johnson shared the title with Jenna Bossle of Illinois State and Southeast Missouri’s Taryn Vanderpool and Lauren Israel.
The Pioneers stumbled on beam, counting two falls. Senior Ciara Maradiaga led the team with a 9.825 to finish second overall, while junior Stephanie Repp scored a 9.800.
The MIC awards were announced following the meet, and Bowerman was named coach of the year. She earned the honor for the first time in her career. Bowerman was named MIC assistant coach of the year in 2007, 2010 and 2011.
Johnson (vault and bars), Jones (floor), Maradiaga (beam), Montalbano (floor), Repp (beam) and Winczura (floor) earned All-MIC honors.
UNT 11, UTEP 4
EL PASO — North Texas completed a three-game sweep of UTEP behind a second consecutive complete-game outing by left-hander Lauren Poole, who efficiently managed UTEP’s top-ranked offense.
North Texas, with an 8-1 record in league play, sits in second place in Conference USA behind Tulsa.
Poole got the starting nod following her whitewash of UTEP on Friday night and allowed just one run through the first four innings en route to her fourth complete game of the season.
“Anytime you can take an entire series on the road, you have to be pleased with that,” UNT coach Tracey Kee said. “When you score in five out of seven innings, that really allows your pitcher to settle in, and I thought Lauren did an unbelievable job. After facing them yesterday, she came out here today and just went right at them. She trusted her defense, trusted her offense and just made good pitches.”
The Mean Green’s offense worked early and often, scoring seven runs in the first three innings. Four of those runs came in a five-walk first inning.
UNT’s Brooke Foster hit her fourth home run in four days with a solo shot to the scoreboard in the top of the third.
“I’m happy for our kids, and I thought offensively we were excellent,” Kee said. “Taking the walks when they were issued, putting the ball hard into play. It was a great job at the plate.”
Mean Green catcher Bryana Wade added a solo shot, her first home run since the first weekend of the season. Jordan Terry drove in three runs.
“Credit to this whole team for stepping up and getting this done, because it could have gone the other way,” Kee said.
The Mean Green returns from its lengthy West Texas trip only to head north to Norman, Okla., for a showdown with Oklahoma at 6 p.m. Wednesday
UNT 4, Louisiana Tech 1
North Texas beat Conference USA foe Louisiana Tech with Franziska Sprinkmeyer wins in doubles and singles.
“We played well but more importantly competed great in every position,” UNT coach Sujay Lama said. “For the first time this year, we had the full lineup, and that is huge as we move forward. Having Franziska back was huge. She is one of our leaders, and seeing her battle inspired the team today.”
Anastasiya Shestakova and Dane Joubert earned the doubles point for the Mean Green with an 8-2 victory at the No. 3 spot. Sprinkmeyer and Kseniya Bardabush were the first to finish, downing the Lady Techsters’ No. 1 duo .
In singles play, Shestakova had the deciding match point for the third time this season — at the No. 2 spot with her 7-6, 6-1 win over Marta Sramkova.
Sprinkmeyer kept her momentum going in singles play, where she won 6-4, 6-2 to put the Mean Green up 3-0.
“It’s been amazing to be out there with my team after six months of not being able to compete,” Sprinkmeyer said. “I felt like everything was going right. We had a lot of energy and support, which helped us fight through all the adversities.”
Agustina Valenzuela was the first to finish singles play, with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Tech’s Melanie Urvoy.
The Lady Techsters earned only one point, at No. 1 singles, and suffered their first conference loss of the season.
North Texas will host No. 48 Memphis at 11 a.m. Saturday.