PITTSBURGH— The University of Pittsburgh gymnastics team produced season high totals in vault and beam to help propel the Panthers to a new season high total in their final home meet of the 2017. In front of a packed Fitzgerald Field House for senior night, the raucous crowd witnessed Pitt total a 195.375. Pitt topped their vault and beam season highs, scoring a 48.950 and 48.750 respectively, in the two events.
On senior night honoring Kelly Burak, Tracey Pearson, Ellie Pikula, and Erika Reichert, the experienced group powered the Panthers, as Burak and Pearson claimed titles on beam and vault, respectively.
Pitt’s performance of 195.375 (8-11, 1-5 EAGL) fell to West Virginia (195.700) but was able to defeat Michigan State (194.600) and EAGL foe Towson (194.400).
Head coach Debbie Yohman was one for praise towards a group performing in front of their home crowd one last time this season.
“We've had this potential all year long,” said Yohman. “We haven’t had the passion like we had this evening. We were kind of going through the motions and they showed tonight that they have to do more than go through the motions and they did that tonight. I think we can repeat that effort on Sunday at West Virginia, at Auburn and then at EAGLs.”
Pitt began their final home meet of the 2017 with inspiring performance on vault. Pitt totaled 48.950, a season high for the Panthers, clipping their previous season high of 48.775 (2/4, at Temple Quad Meet). Pearson led Pitt with a 9.875 on the apparatus, tying her season and career high. Sophomores Charli Spivey and Krista Collins both eclipsed their career highs, posting a 9.800 and 9.750, respectively. Sophomore Meagan Oscar scored a 9.800 while classmate Brittany West scored a 9.700 and freshman Deven Herbine contributed a 9.725 in her first home meet as a Panther.
Pearson’s performance earned her second place in vault on the day, while Spivey and Oscar’s 9.800 garnered them a share of fourth place.
The Panthers moved to uneven bars for the second rotation. They posted a 48.700 as a team in the event, their third-highest total on the season. Pearson led off the rotation with a 9.650. Pitt closed out the event with a string of strong scores as freshman Hallie Peele scored a 9.800, topping her career high, sophomore Lucy Brett tied her career high with a 9.850 and junior Taylor Laymon posted a 9.800.
Brett’s 9.850 earned her third place on bars while Peele and Laymon both tied for sixth place with each scoring a 9.800.
Pitt performed on the beam for the third rotation and accomplished a new season high with a 48.750. The Panthers were powered by Burak, who scored a 9.900 on the beam. A trio of sophomores also performed admirably on beam. Collins produced a 9.750 to top her career high in the event. Brett contributed 9.725 and West earned a 9.700.
Burak’s performance on beam of 9.900 topped her career high. In her final home meet as a Panther, the talented senior beam specialist added another facet to her illustrious career as a Pitt gymnast, from walk-on to scholarship athlete, as she claimed her first outright title on beam this season. It’s her second title in the event this season, as she earned a share of the title with West in a meet on Jan. 13 against West Virginia.
Pitt’s final event on the evening was the floor exercise. Their total of 49.025 was Pitt’s second highest total on floor this season. Pearson paced the Panthers with a 9.850 in her final home meet. Junior Dani Hall tied her season high with a 9.825 and freshman Alecia Petrikis also notched a 9.825. Laymon scored a 9.775 while Spivey and Reichert rounded out Pitt’s performance on floor with a 9.750 and 9.700, respectively.
Pearson earned a share of the title on floor with Kirah Koshinski of West Virginia, both scoring 9.850. Hall and Petrikis both tied for third place with 9.825, while Laymon’s score of 9.775 was good enough for sixth place.
The Panthers have a quick turnaround, returning to action on Sunday, Mar. 5 when they travel to Morgantown, W.Va., for their second quad meet of this weekend. Pitt will face off against West Virginia, EAGL opponent George Washington and Eastern Michigan. Competition is set to begin at 2:00 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum. The Panthers will then conclude their regular season on the road at Auburn, Ala., when they take on the Tigers on Friday, Mar. 10.
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