Sports Women's Sports

Women’s gymnastics host their first Black Pride meet in Blake Arena

By Carley Crain

Black was the color of the day for the women’s gymnastics team as they were able to compete in their first home meet at Blake Arena in 701 days. For them, today meant more than perfecting their routines and scoring high in each event. Sunday’s matchup vs Ithaca and Ursinus was all about celebrating the start of Black History Month, as the meet was entitled Black Pride. 

The women’s team realized that Sunday’s competition was the perfect opportunity to bring awareness to an issue bigger than themselves. Sports have the power to create change and initiate powerful conversations, which was the exact goal the women’s gymnastics team had in mind. 

“As a team, we decided to do a cause meet,” explained head coach Jenn Najuch. “We have a lot of people on the team who are very passionate so we really wanted to use this opportunity to spread awareness and show that we care.”

To kick off the meet, the Pride started on one of their top events, the vault,  where they had a collection of strong performances, led by senior Mackenzie MacLeod’s 9.600. 

The uneven bars were their next event and was all about overcoming adversity. Despite two falls, they were able to rally back and produce solid dismounts. Junior Tori Sipes led the way with her 9.65 final score. 

The Pride’s third rotation was the balance beam, which was one of their best events of the day. Sophomore Rae Anna Schutz kicked off the rotation with a 9.575, which was a new career-high for her. Junior Devon Rosier and senior Mackenzie Macleod also posted new career bests, scoring 9.675 and 9.700 respectively. Senior Leah Jewett concluded the rotation for the Pride with a new career-best as well. 

The last event of the day for Springfield was the floor exercise, which historically has been one of their strongest events. Schutz had another dominant performance- as her beaming smile and clean transitions scored her a 9.600. Rosier added another career-best and first-place finish on the day, this time in the floor exercise matching her beam score of 9.675. Macleod also contributed another solid score of 9.600. 

“This meet was really our goal to have all of our routines ready to go and be confident in them, ” said Najuch. “We sort of used the first two weeks to practice and get the jitters out.”

Springfield tallied a total of 186.5 points for their highest overall team score of the season. The Pride will travel to New Haven, Connecticut next weekend for a tri-meet vs Yale, Southern Connecticut State, and Bridgeport.

Photo: Springfield Athletics

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