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Gymnastics: TWU fourth at MIC meet

SHREVEPORT, La. — Courtney Cochefski tied for first on bars to lead TWU to a fourth-place finish at the Midwest Independent Conference championship meet Saturday night.

TWU posted a 194.775 team score and finished behind Illinois-Chicago (195.600), Illinois State (195.425) and Southeast Missouri State (195.050). Lindenwood placed fifth with a 193.050 while host Centenary finished sixth with a 192.900.

After receiving a bye in the first rotation, the Pioneers started on floor exercise. All six gymnasts scored 9.750 or higher for a team score of 48.950. Kristin Edwards led the team with 9.825 while Ciara Maradiaga scored a career-high 9.800.

TWU moved to vault in the third rotation and posted a season-high 49.000. Edwards once again led the Pioneers with a career-high 9.875 to finish second overall, while senior Bethany Larimer finished with 9.850 and tied for third. Amy Winczura also scored a 9.800.

After its second bye, TWU scored a 48.850 on uneven bars in the fifth rotation. Cochefski led the Pioneers with a 9.850, while Larimer and Brittany Johnson each scored 9.775.

In the final rotation, TWU stumbled on balance beam and counted a fall en route to a 47.975. Maradiaga posted another career high and led the Pioneers with a 9.850 to tie for second overall. Spencer Jones scored a 9.825 while Stephanie Repp posted a 9.725.

“The team really looks strong and we had some great performances tonight,” TWU coach Lisa Bowerman said. “It was unfortunate that we had to count a fall on beam, but I was very proud of how they continued to fight to the very end. I really feel that they are peaking at the right time and that they will be ready to vie for the national championship when we come back to Shreveport in three weeks.”

Five Pioneers received all-conference honors. Edwards (vault), Cochefski (bars), Larimer (vault) and Maradiaga (beam) earned first-team honors, while Jones received second-team recognition in all-around.

The MIC scholar athlete honorees also were announced after the meet. Cochefski, Victoria Cochefski, Ashleigh Gillis, Sara Grunert, Madison Kremer, Maradiaga, Larimer, Repp, Margaret Mayfield, Paisley Read, Payton Shoemaker and Winczura posted grade-point averages of 3.250 or better.