TOWSON, Md. – Trailing by 0.55 points entering the final rotation, Towson University turned in its best performance of the season on floor exercise as the Tigers came from behind to win the 28th annual Shelli Calloway Memorial Towson Invitational Meet at the Towson Center on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers posted a seasonal high 193.275 team score to edge Cornell, which earned a 192.250 team score. Temple (190.600) finished third and Ursinus (182.425).
After sub-par performances on vault and bars, the Tigers (96.175) found themselves trailing both Cornell (96.90) and Temple (96.625) at the mid-point of the meet.
However, freshman Erin Odom and sophomore Lauren Ross earned career high scores as the Tigers earned a seasonal high 48.10 score on beam to cut their deficit entering the final rotation. Competing on beam for the first time in her college career, Odom tied for sixth on beam with a 9.65 score. Meanwhile, Ross finished first with a career high 9.80 score. A late lineup change by Towson Coach Vicki Chliszczyk enabled the Tigers to earn a strong beam score.
“We actually warmed up eight people on beam,” she said. “After watching the warm-ups, we decided to put Lauren in the lineup in the number six spot and we moved Erin up in the lineup. Lauren looked ready to go and she came through in a big way.”
Entering the final rotation, Towson had a 144.300 team score while Cornell owned a 144.850 score, leaving the Tigers with a sizable margin to overcome.
Odom led off on floor for the Tigers and she earned a career high 9.725 score. Sophomore Samantha Lutz came through with another career high, earning a 9.775 score. When sophomore Alexa Davis posted a 9.75 score, the Tigers took the lead in the meet. Freshman Abby Griswold completed the best meet of her young career by posting a career high 9.80 score while senior Britney Russell chipped in with a 9.775. Freshman Katie Sassa capped off the meet when she earned a career high 9.875 score, giving Towson a 193.275 final score.
At the same that Towson was competing on floor, Cornell had a 47.95 team score on beam as the Big Red finished second.
“We really put it together on floor,” said Chliszczyk. “I wasn’t surprised because I know that we are capable of getting scores like that. I’m not even sure if our gymnasts knew we were trailing going into the last rotation. Nobody talked about it. We just went out and performed the way we can.”
Competing in two events, Sassa finished first on vault (9.825) and floor (9.875). Freshman Lydia Thompson took second place on vault (9.75) while freshman Samantha Ward tied for fourth place (9.70).
Junior Alexis Schupp of Cornell took first place on bars at the meet with a 9.725 score. Griswold took second place with a 9.70 while Rebecca Osmer of Towson tied for third place on bars with Elise Kerner of Cornell. Each of them had 9.675 scores.
Ross won the beam title with her clutch performance while freshman Hannah Clark of Cornell was second with a 9.775 score. Junior Heather Zaniewski of Temple earned third place with her 9.75 score.
The Tigers were dominant on floor exercise as they placed four gymnasts among the top six. While Sassa won the meet with a 9.875 score, Griswold finished third at 9.80. Lutz and Russell were part of a three-way tie for fourth place, earning 9.775 score to tie with senior Margaret Walch of Temple.
Griswold won the first all-around title of her college career with a career best 38.70 score. She had a 9.55 on vault to go with her 9.70 on bars, her 9.65 on beam and her 9.80 on floor.
Jean Alban of Temple was second in the all-around (38.10).
By winning the championship, the Tigers have now captured 24 Towson Invitational titles, including the last 10 in a row.
Towson returns to action next Sunday when the Tigers visit West Virginia for a meet with the Mountaineers, New Hampshire and Michigan.
College Gymnastics: 1. Towson 193.275; 2. Cornell 192.250; 3. Temple 190.600; 4. Ursinus 182.425.
VAULT: 1. Katie Sassa (TOW), 9.825; 2. Lydia Thompson (TOW), 9.75; Madeline Martinez (CORN), 9.75; 4. Samantha Ward (TOW), 9.70.
BARS: 1. Alexis Schupp (CORN), 9.725; 2. Abby Griswold (TOW), 9.70; 3. Rebecca Osmer (TOW), 9.675; Elise Kerner (CORN), 9.675.
BEAM: 1. Lauren Ross (TOW), 9.800; 2. Hannah Clark (CORN), 9.775; 3. Heather Zaniewski (TEMP), 9.75. 4. Jean Alban (TEMP), 9.725.
FLOOR: 1. Katie Sassa (TOW), 9.875; 2. Sarah Hein (CORN), 9.825; 3. Abby Griswold (TOW), 9.800; 4. Samantha Lutz (TOW), 9.775; Britney Russell (TOW), 9.775; Margaret Walch (TEMP); 9.775.
ALL-AROUND: 1. Abby Griswold (TOW), 38.700; 2. Jean Alban (TEMP), 38.100; 3. Brittanie DeMeno (TEMP), 37.650; 4. Alexis Arena (TEMP), 37.60.