Towson gymnasts take aim at Maryland

Rivalry reaches high point in league championships


March 19, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Forget 10th-ranked North Carolina.

Don't worry about defending champion New Hampshire or four-time East Atlantic Gymnastics League champion West Virginia.

As far as Towson is concerned, the bull's eye will be squarely on Maryland's back tomorrow in the ninth East Atlantic Gymnastics League championship meet at the University of Pittsburgh.

Neither the Terps nor the Tigers have ever won this prestigious meet, but the intense rivalry continues. Maryland has twice finished second and Towson was a second-place finisher once, in 1996, the first year the event was held. The teams tied for fourth place last year.

"We want to beat Maryland more than anything else," said Towson's junior all-around performer, Nicole Groccia. "They've always been our big rivals regardless of the rankings."

Groccia, a transfer from the University of Massachusetts after her freshman year, sprained her ankle midway through last season's EAGL championships and was forced out of action.

That doomed the Tigers' chances to finish higher than the Terps.

"If everybody performs up to their abilities, we look to finish in the top three," said Groccia, who has been the team's most consistent entry in the all-around this season.

She earned a career-high 39.025 points against William and Mary and George Washington in a tri-meet last week. She has also been one of the team's top performers on the bars (9.735 average) and has turned in several strong showings on beam this season.

Sophomore Jen Beekman and freshman Stacie Hogan have been Towson's other key all-around performers this season.

Watkins honored

Salisbury sophomore forward Kiera Watkins has been named to the All-Capital Athletic Conference women's basketball second team after averaging 13.1 points and a team-leading 7.9 rebounds while recording eight double doubles.

Watkins scored a career-high 31 points against Goucher and finished seventh in the league in rebounding for the Sea Gulls, who finished with a 13-13 record.

Bouloubasis scores

Senior Matt Bouloubasis took third place in the epee for Johns Hopkins in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/ South Regional fencing championships and is expected to qualify for the NCAA championships.

Hopkins junior Bryan Bishe' and freshman Nick Marchuk took 11th and 14th, respectively, in the foil.

McKenna hits plateau

Brian McKenna became the seventh player in Towson baseball history to reach the 200-base hit mark in his career when he singled in a 10-4 loss to Maryland last week.

McKenna, a senior shortstop who had been struggling at the plate, has shown signs of coming to life recently, going 6-for-13 in three straight losses to Virginia Tech.

He is now hitting .265 this season for the Tigers (5-7), with two home runs and 10 RBIs.

Jays wrestlers picked

Six Johns Hopkins wrestlers have been named All-Centennial Conference honorable mention after finishing as runners-up in their respective weight classes in the league championships.

Senior heavyweight Karol Gryczynski (Mount Hebron) dropped a 2-1 decision to McDaniel's top-seeded Drew Reinacker in the final, but was presented the Chris Clifford Memorial Award for earning the most career points.

Other Blue Jays named honorable mention were junior Tony Dambro (187 pounds), senior Rob Curry (184), sophomore David Kraus (174), junior Jason Suslavich (133) and sophomore John Witzenbocker (125).

Hopkins matched its best finish ever, amassing 72 points for third place.

Et cetera

College of Notre Dame senior Julia Bachman has been presented an NCAA postgraduate scholarship award for her dedication to athletics and academics.

Bachman was a three-time All-Atlantic Women's Colleges Conference soccer player, the 2002 AWCC Most Outstanding Soccer Player and a two-year starter on the Gators basketball team.

Erin Brilhart has been named the men's golf coach at Mount St. Mary's.

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