Towson, Maryland to square off, then pair up College Gymnastics

February 03, 1996|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF

First, Towson State's gymnastics team will try to defeat Maryland, something it has done many times in recent years.

Then, it will side up with the Terrapins and go after a bigger prize, something completely out of the ordinary.

These two rivals will join North Carolina and North Carolina State at today's inaugural Governor's Cup at Towson State, beginning at 2 p.m. They will take part in a traditional quad-meet, but the scoring won't stop there. They also will be paired off to see which state accumulates the most points and is deemed the winner.

This is the first of a four-year arrangement, with next season's competition at North Carolina.

Towson and Maryland will make interesting partners. The Tigers hold a 21-3 edge during the regular season. Maryland's last win came in 1988.

"We're big rivals with Maryland," said Towson State coach Dick Filbert, "but we'll be on the same side of the ball, so to speak. It should be fun. This is rather unique."

"Our task is to make sure North Carolina understands that we're the best state, with the best gymnastics," Maryland coach Bob Nelligan said, laughing. "I have no problem playing a supportive role in this."

Filbert sees the meet coming down to how well Maryland fares against North Carolina, and whether Towson can knock off N.C. State, which has beaten the Terps during the past two regionals. The Tigers have split two regular-season meets with the Wolfpack and are 11-2 against UNC.

Towson goes into the meet with only six competitors because of injuries and illnesses. The Tigers, who began the week ranked No. 8 in the nation, are 6-1 overall and atop the East Atlantic Gymnastics League standings.

The main reason that Towson is off to its best start in six seasons is freshman Liane Williams, who won the all-around in her first two collegiate meets. Junior Erin Shanley was second in all-around at Ohio State and third on bars.

Maryland (5-2) opened with a win against Radford before placing third at the George Washington Invitational. Megyn Byrnes and Stacy Breidenbach took first and second, respectively, in all-around against Radford, and freshman Christine Holcombe won the title at GW.

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