It was business as usual for senior Wendy Weaver, but a pair of newcomers played critical roles as record-breaking Towson State won its women's invitational gymnastics meet for the seventh straight year yesterday at the Towson Center.
Sophomore Wendy Chalmers, a transfer from the University of Alabama, won the all-around, and freshman Joanne Watson, a late substitute in the all-around, came through with a 9.55 that helped carry the Tigers to a school-record 190.20 points.
Weaver continued her struggles on the beam (two falls), but the rest was vintage work for the team captain. She placed first in each of the other three disciplines, and tied her school record in the vault. Weaver became the 11th Towson State gymnast to score more than 1,000 career points.
When the field was set last year, Towson State coach Dick Filbert believed he had three or four strong teams coming in, but it didn't turn out that way.
In breaking their previous standard of 189.55, the No. 13-ranked Tigers were followed by Temple, 183.85; Maryland, 181.55; Cortland State, 174.15; and Air Force, 172.60. Longwood College, which will drop its program after this season, brought three competitors and totaled 98.65.
Chalmers, of Bowie, did not really settle in at Alabama -- athletically or academically. Given the opportunity, she returned close to home.
Now, backed by solid classroom work, she is gaining consistency and confidence in her sport. A strong showing in the team's win at New Hampshire last week helped considerably.
This time, despite being bothered by an elbow injury, she recovered from a disappointing showing (9.0) in the opening vault, to get scores of 9.7 on the bars, a career-best 9.7 on the beam and a 9.65 in floor exercise.
"I missed both my vaults, but you have to put things like that behind, and go on to the next station," Chalmers said. She said her spirits were down when she transferred, but Filbert and her teammates have been supportive. "They made me feel welcome," she said.
Watson, making her first collegiate start in the floor exercise, came through.
Filbert said, "We have seven very capable floor people, and I decided to use Joanne instead of Julie Heilman -- trying to get her ready. Our goal was 190, and I told them we didn't need 9.9s, and just to do their routines."