TOWSON, Md. - Senior Lindsay Poplaski won the all-around competition and set a career high with her 38.875 score as she led the Tigers to a first place finish at the 27th annual Shelli Calloway Memorial Towson Invitational Meet in the Towson Center on Saturday afternoon.
Poplaski helped the Tigers capture their ninth consecutive title as they posted their highest team score in nearly four years. The Tigers, who won the meet with a 194.100 score, posted their highest team score in a meet since March 18, 2008 when they had a 194.85 score at George Washington University.
The Tigers, now 11-3 on the season, used their 194.100 team score to edge runner-up Pennsylvania (192.10). The Tigers also outscored Cornell (189.10) and Ursinus College (185.175).
Poplaski, who took first place in the all-around for the second time this season, also finished first on floor exercise with a 9.80 score as she matched her career high. Honored as the ECAC Gymnast of the Week last week, Poplaski also tied for second place on vault (9.75) and took fifth place on bars (9.675). She also tied for ninth place on beam (9.65).
“Lindsay is having an amazing season,” says Coach Vicki Chliszczyk. “In the pre-season, we worked very hard to get her to focus and it’s paying off. She has hit every routine this season and she gets better every week. It is very obvious that she her confidence is growing and now she believes in herself.”
Poplaski edged her teammate, senior Kacy Catanzaro for the all-around title. Catanzaro was second in the all-around competition with a 38.775 score, ending her streak of two straight all-around titles.
Catanzaro finished first on vault and beam. On vault, she took first place with a career high 9.875 score. She tied the Callaway Meet record with 9.875 vault score. She matched the record set by Liane Williams, ’99 in 1996 and was also tied by Niina Parjanen, ’01 in 1999.
The Tigers started the competition on vault and earned an impressive 48.70 team score, taking the early lead in the meet. Catanzaro led the Tigers’ performance on vault with her 9.875 while junior Britney Russell and Poplaski tied for second place with 9.75 scores. Senior Avis Hixon also contributed to the Tigers’ cause with a 9.725 vault score, fifth in the meet.
On bars, the Tigers increased their lead by earning a 48.25 team score. Freshman Samantha Lutz had the Tigers’ top score on bars with a 9.70 as she finished fourth. Poplaski and Hixon tied for fifth place with 9.675 scores.
At the mid-point of the meet, the Tigers had a lead of 1.225 points over Pennsylvania. Towson had a 96.95 score while Penn had a 95.725 score.
On balance beam, the Tigers virtually clinched the meet. For most of the season, the Tigers have struggled on beam. However, they came up with their best performance of the year on beam with a 48.55 team score. The Tigers connected on all six beam routines and nobody fell off the beam.
“Our performance on beam was certainly a high point of the meet,” added Chliszczyk. “But, we did have a few mistakes. We just didn’t have any falls.”
Catanzaro won the beam competition with a career best 9.825 score while freshman Lauren Ross took fourth place with a career best 9.725 score. Russell contributed a 9.70 beam score to finish ninth in the meet.
Closing out the meet on floor exercise, the Tigers earned a 48.60 team score as they topped the 194.00-mark for the first time in four years. While Poplaski finished first with a 9.80 score to match her career high, Catanzaro and Hixon tied for second place with 9.775 scores on floor. Competing as a member of the floor lineup for the first time, freshman Nicolette Vignola finished sixth with a 9.65 score while senior Alyssa Dittman finished ninth with a 9.60 score.
“It was great to be competing back at home,” added Chliszczyk. “This was a very good score for us but I think we can improve on it. Kacy had a mistake on bars that cost us points and we still don’t have our best floor worker (Russell) competing.
“We have a big meet next week when we travel to North Carolina State,” she said. “A meet like this gives us a great deal of confidence going into the meet at NC State.”
Freshman Amber Woo led Penn to its second place finish by taking third place in the all-around (38.35). Junior Kristen Strausbaugh of Penn was fourth in the all-around (38.15) and finished first on bars (9.825).
COLLEGE GYMNASTICS: 1. Towson 194.100; 2. Pennsylvania 192.100; 3. Cornell 189.100; 4. Ursinus 185.175.
VAULT: 1. Kacy Catanzaro (TOW), 9.875 – ties meet record; 2. Britney Russell (TOW), 9.75; Lindsay Poplaski (TOW), 9.75; Laura DiPaolo (PENN), 9.75; 5. Avis Hixon (TOW), 9.725; McKenna Archer (COR), 9.675.
BARS: 1. Kirsten Strausbaugh (PENN), 9.825; 2. Alexis Schupp (CORN), 9.775; 3. Melanie Jorgensen (CORN), 9.75; 4. Samantha Lutz (TOW), 9.70; 5. Avis Hixon (TOW), 9.675; Lindsay Poplaski(TOW), 9.675; Amber Woo (PENN), 9.675; Megan Milavec (PENN), 9.675; Laura DiPaolo (PENN), 9.675.
BEAM: 1. Kacy Catanzaro, 9.825; Melanie Standridge (CORN), 9.825; 3. Amber Woo (PENN), 9.775; 4. Lauren Ross (TOW), 9.725; Katie Graham (PENN), 9.725; McKenna Archer (CORN), 9.725; Kristen Aichele (URS), 9.725.
FLOOR: 1. Lindsay Poplaski (TOW), 9.800; 2. Kacy Catanzaro (TOW), 9.775; Avis Hixon (TOW), 9.775; Kirsten Strausbaugh (PENN), 9.775; 5. Dana Bonincontri (PENN), 9.75; 6. Nicolette Vignola (TOW), 9.65; Megan Milavec (PENN), 9.65; Makeda Constable (PENN), 9.65.
ALL-AROUND: 1. Lindsay Poplaski (TOW), 38.875; 2. Kacy Catanzaro (TOW), 38.775; 3. Amber Woo (PENN), 38.35; 4. Kirsten Strausbaugh (PENN), 38.15; 5. Dana Bonincontri (PENN), 38.00; 6. Megan Milavec (PENN), 37.875.