It's routine: Towson captures ECAC crown No falls for Tigers in 7th straight title

March 21, 1993|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

Towson State, buoyed by a school-record total on bars, held off the University of New Hampshire to win its seventh consecutive Eastern College Athletic Conference women's gymnastics championship before 1,213 last night at the Towson Center.

The Tigers clinched the meet with a score of 47.45 in the vault, its weakest discipline of the season, and ended with a season-high 191.25. In the same final rotation, UNH had 47.25 on floor exercise and placed second with 189.70.

"We hit 24 of 24 routines -- no falls -- and that's the best I've ever seen us do in my 11 years here," said Towson State coach Dick Filbert.

"I said before that if both teams hit their routines, New Hampshire would win because they are better. What we needed to win was hit everything and have them make a couple of mistakes."

For UNH, the mistakes came early, as there were falls on the first three routines on bars, usually its best event. Later, junior all-around star Karen Olssen fell on beam, and sophomore Amy Ehle (Howard) tied for fifth on beam with 9.6, but had falls on bars and floor.

Completing the team scores were Maryland (187.90), William & Mary (187.30) Pittsburgh (187.20), James Madison (186.45) and Vermont (186.35).

Towson State's bars record came when Kim O'Keefe, Carrie Leger, Gabby Linarducci, Joy Rudy and Joanne Watson and Karen Sturek (tie) combined for 48.20. The previous mark was 48.15 last year with a group that included O'Keefe and Linarducci.

Nicole Mullins of New Hampshire won the all-around with 38.65, followed by Linarducci with a personal-best 38.45; Leger (38.45), O'Keefe (38.25) and another personal best.

Linarducci also had a meet record in the floor exercise (9.8); and Arousha Youssefi, a University of Maryland freshman, set a record on the beam with 9.8.

Linarducci, a senior from Linden, N.J., was named the ECAC gymnast of the year, and Nini Anger, of Vermont, coach of the year.

"The most impressive thing about our showing was getting good performances from girls who were not supposed to be here," Filbert pointed out. "We had kids competing who were Nos. 10-11-12 before the season started, and we didn't expect some of them to get into the lineup."

Towson State entered the meet with eight healthy gymnasts, after losing several to injuries during the season.

"We've been holding this team together through all kinds of adversity this season," Filbert said. "When we started 1-5, we didn't know what to expect, but the team has hung together."

Among those who came through with solid efforts were sophomores Joy Rudy, Joanne Watson and Karen Sturek and freshman Carrie Leger, who came back from last year's back injury to have an outstanding year.

The Tigers finished with a dual-meet record of 16-6, and their triumph last night marked the first time a No. 2 seed had won the championship. The Tigers came in rated behind UNH.

NOTES: The seven teams were joined by 13 individual competitors from Northeastern, Pennsylvania, and Yale. . . . The group included four all-arounds -- Sandra Avellani and Judy Siddell of Northeastern; Mary Pedersen of Penn; and Erin Murphy of Yale. . . . O'Keefe, a junior, became the 15th Towson State

gymnast to go past 1,000 points when she totaled 38.20 in a win over Ivy League champion Yale last week. . . . Alisa Goslin (Wilde Lake), a senior co-captain at James Madison, was unable to compete because of tearing knee ligaments last week. . . . This marked the third time Towson State had played host to the meet, winning the previous times in 1987 and 1989.

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