by Megan Morketter, GoHeels.com
Washington D.C.- In the team's first meet of the season, North Carolina produced a score of 192.950 to finish second at the Lindsey Ferris Invitational on Jan. 13. Host George Washington won the meet with a 193.425. Also in attendance were Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania and Temple who finished the competition in their respective places.
Most noticeable to head coach Derek Galvin as UNC moved through the events was the team comradery.
"The way they encouraged and supported each other, that's going to be one of the signatures of this team," said Galvin. "I saw it in training in the fall and more since we've been back from the holidays. They showed it again today. That's something that we know will be consistent."
The Tar Heels started the meet on the uneven bars where they combined for a 48.425. Senior and co-captain Elizabeth Durkac earned second place overall and tied her personal best with a 9.850. Behind her was freshman Sarah Peterson who scored a 9.700. Fellow freshman Josselyn Mackey and sophomore Haley Watts were each given a 9.650. Junior Emily Cornwell added a 9.525 to round out the event.
Carolina totaled a 47.925 on the balance beam as the Tar Heels took three of the top spots in the event. Maura Masatsugu, a senior and the other half of the captain duo, topped the overall scores with a 9.825. Sophomore Janell Sargent earned a career-best 9.775 that placed her second overall. She was followed closely by junior Meredith Magjuka who tied for third and also set a new personal record with a 9.750. Durkac and Watts contributed a 9.325 and 9.250, respectively.
Moving on to floor exercise, UNC scored a 48.075. Durkac and Watts both earned a 9.700 to lead the team. Magjuka was next, scoring a personal best 9.625. Freshman Lexi Cappalli added a 9.600, and Mackey finished the event with a 9.450.
The Tar Heels tallied the highest team vault score of the meet with a 48.525. Durkac finished first overall in the event, receiving a career-best 9.825. Peterson came in third overall with a 9.750, and Cappalli tied for fourth, scoring a 9.725. Redshirt junior Michelle Ikoma earned a 9.700 to place seventh. Mackey added a 9.525.
Galvin is excited for the progress he knows he will see in the gymnasts as the season gets into full swing.
"I know that this team is going to continue to get stronger and more confident as we compete in more meets," said Galvin. "They're capable of doing it, and they know that, but they have to keep getting stronger."
Carolina will see George Washington again Jan. 20, as the two teams compete in a tri-meet with William & Mary. UNC will be hosting the event at 2 p.m. in Carmichael Arena.