GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Making their sixth consecutive appearance at the NCAA Southeast Regional last night, the Towson State University gymnastics team turned in a third-place showing with a 189.075 score and will hope for an at-large berth in the nationals when the 12-team field is announced this morning.
Senior Wendy Weaver, who may have competed in her final meet for the Tigers, may qualify for nationals after her 38.725 performance in the all-around, good for fourth place. Weaver had a career high 9.825 in vault, a 9.725 on bars, a 9.525 on beam and a 9.65 on the floor.
For the fifth straight year, Georgia won the Southeast Regional meet with 196.55 points, and host Florida was second with 191.475 points. Both teams should be part of the field for nationals.
Following the Tigers in the standings were George Washington (186.875), Kentucky (185.075), West Virginia (184.97) and North Carolina State (183.550).
The Tigers' 189.075 was their best score in six regional appearances and marked the third time in six years that Towson has finished third in the meet behind Georgia and Florida.
"We gave it our best shot," said Towson State coach Dick Filbert "We had a lot of lineup juggling to do and it was a solid performance. I'm really proud of this team."
The Tigers went into the meet at a disadvantage. They competed without junior Gabby Linarducci, the team's second best all-around. Linarducci injured her ankle during practice eight days ago and could not compete. In addition, senior Julie Heilman competed despite a painful foot injury, the result of a practice injury on Wednesday.
The Tigers started off on beam and survived a pair of falls to record a 46.325 score highlighted by the 9.525 by Weaver and freshman Jennifer Honaker's 9.45 score.
On floor, the Tigers excelled with a 47.575 showing. Weaver led the way with her 9.65, and freshmen Joan Reitz and Joanne Watson each had 9.50 scores. For Reitz, it was a career high on floor. She replaced Linarducci in the lineup. Senior Julie Heilman turned in a gutty effort on floor with a 9.40 score despite her painful foot injury. She also had a 9.35 on beam.
Weaver also led the way in vault for the Tigers with a career-best 9.825 score. Reitz also added a 9.65 as the Tigers posted a 47.45 score. Sophomore Kim O'Keefe also aided the Tigers' effort on vault with a 9.45.
The Tigers finished on bars with a 47.625. Weaver and O'Keefe each had 9.725 scores, and sophomore Wendy Chalmers had a 9.70.
The NCAA championship meet is April 24-25 at the University of Minnesota.