The Springfield College women’s gymnastics team has flipped into their 2014 season with flare. Posting a 3-1 record, the Pride have defeated Rhode Island College, Ithaca College and Ursinus. However, the only loss for Springfield came at the hands of SUNY Brockport, where the Pride fell by .375 points.
As last season came to a close, juniors Lauren Pocius and Abby Clark both posted top-five performances in the all-around competition at the ECAC Championships in Cortland, N.Y., with Pocious taking second place, posting a score of 37.525, and Clark taking third, finishing with a score of 37.300.
“They’re my duo,” exclaimed coach Cheryl Raymond. “They’re both juniors and they have both done outstanding. They’re doing all four events and have both been on top of their game. They’ve continued to show consistency and maturity. This year, I know I can count on them. I know they’re going to be there and have tremendous confidence.”
Pacing the Pride in 2014, Clark and Pocius have kicked off their junior seasons just as successful, with the pair taking either first or second place interchangeably in the all-around competition in all three competitions the Pride have taken part in.
Pocius took first place against both RIC and SUNY Brockport, finishing with 36.750 and 37.450 scores, respectively. Coming in close second, Clark posted a score of 34.150 against RIC and 37.275 against the Golden Eagles.
“I have been happy with my performances so far,” commented Pocius. “Just knowing that I have been here for a few years now and knowing how things run I have a lot more confidence going into competitions.”
After taking first place in the all-around against RIC and SUNY Brockport, Pocius was outlasted by Clark in the tri-meet with Ithaca and Ursinus, resulting in Clark taking first place and claiming an ECAC Division III Women’s Gymnast of the Week honor.
Clark pieced together quite the performance, coming close to placing first in every event, and posting a personal-best score of 37.575 to win the all-around.
“Since she won the first two all-arounds I knew that I was close, but I made some silly mistakes,” commented Clark. “I knew that if I could fix those mistakes I could beat Lauren or do as well as she does because I look up to her and her consistency. It was nice to finally sit down and say, ‘I can do it and I’m up there with her.’ She came in as a higher level gymnast than I was so it’s nice to finally be up there with her.”
Although it is a constant battle between the two during meets, both agree that it is a way to motivate each other and also a way to help their team succeed.
“I think it is so great that she won. I am so happy for her,” stated Pocius. “I love to see her do as well as she can. If anything, there is a little healthy competition between us, but it only helps our team out in the long run.”
“We always joke that since we are both ‘all-arounders’ to put us on the same events every day in practice, but we always end up on opposite events and never working out together,” commented Clark. “Throughout meets, it’s friendly competition. We don’t necessarily focus on beating each other, but instead try to do well for our team.”
Also leading the Pride are captains Keelin O’Connell and Rachel Mattison. O’Connell, one of three seniors on the team, has been impressive in the beginning stages of the season, most recently placing third on the balance beam with a score of 9.325.
Mattison, a junior for the Pride, most recently tied for third place on the vault with teammate Nicole Silva, both posting a score of 9.375 in the tri-meet with Ithaca and Ursinus.
“Each has their own unique qualities and own roles within the team, but they are both very much invested in the team,” said Raymond. “Both are great leaders. They lead by example, have a great rapport and can both talk to the girls and build on what I ask them to do. They show great peer-based leadership.”
Up next for the Pride are the Red Dragons of Cortland State University, who will be traveling to Blake Arena for a 1 p.m. meet this Sunday.