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Gymnastics: TWU advances to team finals

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From news reports

SHREVEPORT, La. — TWU advanced to the team finals at the USA Gymnastics national meet Friday after winning the first semifinal session. The Pioneers posted a team score of 194.100 at Centenary’s Gold Dome.

TWU has advanced to the USAG team finals every season since 1992 and has captured nine national championships. TWU last won the title in 2008.

Brown finished second with a 190.825 and will join the Pioneers in the finals at 7 tonight. Air Force finished third with a 190.750 and was followed by Cornell (189.250).

The Pioneers opened the meet on bars and posted a 48.700 after hitting all six routines. Bethany Larimer scored a 9.750 in the first routine, and Spencer Jones was TWU’s top scorer with a career-high 9.800. Brittany Johnson tied her season high with a 9.775, and Courtney Cochefski scored 9.700.

The Pioneers stumbled on balance beam in the second rotation, counting two falls for a team score of 47.575. Larimer started the event with a 9.750, and Ciara Maradiaga posted a career-high 9.875 to lead the team. Jones scored a 9.725.

TWU regrouped on floor exercise and scored 9.700 or higher in five of the six routines for a season-high 49.000. Kristin Edwards led the Pioneers with a 9.875, followed by Jones with a 9.850. Stephanie Repp scored a 9.800, Margaret Mayfield a 9.775 and Maradiaga 9.700.

The Pioneers ended the sesssion with a 48.825 on vault, capped by a 9.850 from Larimer and a 9.800 from Amy Winczura. Edwards posted a 9.775 and Kayla Jones a 9.750.

Spencer Jones competed in all-around and scored a 38.900.

“We’re obviously excited to have finished strong and to qualify into the finals,” TWU coach Lisa Bowernan said. “We have room for improvement, and I know that they are ready to go out there [today] and leave nothing on the floor. This team wants this championship badly, and I know they will be determined to do everything in their power ... to get it.”

TWU also qualified numerous gymnasts for Sunday’s individual event finals. Edwards, Larimer and Winczura will compete on vault, Spencer Jones will compete on bars, Larimer, Maradiaga and Spencer Jones will compete on beam, and Edwards, Spencer Jones and Repp will compete on floor.

“I am extremely proud of all our individual qualifiers,” Bowerman said. “We will have awesome representation at event finals and a great shot at some individual titles.”