The University of Rhode Island gymnastics team capped off a productive season with a second-place finish at Nationals, which was held in Philadelphia from Thursday to Saturday.
“It’s a strong group of kids,” head coach Kelli Doorley said. “They get along really well. Â They work together really well. Â They train really well. Â Because of that they’ve had a lot of success throughout the whole year.”
Senior Rebecca Griffin led the way for the Rams in Saturday’s finals by taking fourth in the nation on the uneven bars with a 9.55 and second overall on floor with a 9.575, earning her fifth place in the all-around with a score of 36.7. Â Sophomore Bianca Briscese placed sixth in the nation in the finals for balance beam by obtaining a 9.1 and junior Hayley Crossley, who also placed 11th in the all-around finals with a 34.975, earned an 8.85 and tied for 10th place.
Freshman Morgan Mathieu finished 10th in the vault finals, receiving a 9.25, while senior Ilana Morris and Briscese took 13th and 14th respectively with scores of 9.2 and 9.15. Â Morris also tied for 15th in the uneven bars finals, earning a score of 8.35. Â The Rams came away with the second-highest score in the team finals, registering a 146.275. Â James Madison University, which posted a team score of 147.05, captured the national championship.
“It’s really exciting that we got second,” freshman Julia Lomakin said. “Last year we lost to JMU, but we lost by points and this year we only lost by 0.75 and hopefully next year will be our year.”
The Nationals bring to a close a solid season for the Rams, who placed first in every one of their seven prior competitions and finish the year as the No. 2 team in the National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs.
“We had two really great meets in both prelims and in finals,” Griffin said. “We went into prelims not knowing what the outcome would be and gave it our all and ended up with our highest team score of the season. Â And in finals, again we had some of the best routines from our gymnasts that we’ve seen all year.”
“We came in second only by 0.7 and it was to an incredibly talented and strong team. Â It was a very proud moment for all of us to have accomplished such a feat. Â I’ve never been more proud to be a Rhody gymnast and a part of this amazing team family. “
On their first day of competition, the Rams won their team session with a score of 146.325, the highest score of any team in the preliminaries.
In day two’s level-nine preliminaries, Griffin placed eighth all-around with a score of 36.575 and Crossley tied for 14th with a 35.85, earning each of them a spot in the all-around finals on Sunday. Â Griffin earned a 9.3 and tied for 10th in the preliminaries for the uneven bars and Morris tied for 12th with a 9.275, advancing them both to Sunday’s finals.
In the balance beam qualifiers, Crossley tied for fourth place, getting a 9.4 and Briscese tied for 12th with a score of 9.2. Â In the floor preliminaries, Griffin tied for fourth, receiving a 9.55. Â The vault preliminaries saw three Rams advance as Morris tied for fifth with a 9.4, Mathieu received a 9.375 and finished seventh and Briscese placed 12th with a 9.2. Â In the level-eight preliminaries, freshman Kayla Wickham qualified for the vault finals by winning her preliminary session with a 9.275, tying her for seventh in the overall vault preliminaries.