WASHINGTON, D.C. – Led by senior Kacy Catanzaro, won the all-around title with a career high 39.40 score, Towson University earned its highest team score in almost five years as the Tigers (20-5) closed out the regular season with a very impressive victory over George Washington University at the Smith Center on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers earned a seasonal high 195.25 team score to beat the Colonials for the second time in three days. GW had a 193.925 score in its final meet of the season.
Not only was the Tigers' 195.25 team score their highest score of the season, it was also the 12th highest team score in school history and marked only the 13th time that Towson topped the 195.00-level. It was the Tigers' highest score in a meet since April 20, 2007 when they earned a 195.625 score at the USA Gymnastics Championship Meet.
Catanzaro, who won her sixth all-around title of the season, finished first on vault, bars and beam in addition to winning the all-around competition. Her 39.40 all-around scored matched the fourth highest all-around score in school history, a mark set by former All-American Erin Shanley, ’97 in 1997.
On vault, Catanzaro matched her career high as she first with a 9.90 score. She also won the bars competition with a 9.80 score. On beam, she took first place with a 9.825 score. On floor exercise, Catanzaro matched her career high with a 9.875 score but she tied for second place behind teammate Britney Russell. A junior, Rus sell (below) won the floor exercise with a 9.925 score, breaking her career high.
Senior Lindsay Poplaski also had an outstanding meet. She finished second in the all-around with a career high 38.85 score. Poplaski also matched her career high on vault with a 9.80 score as she finished second. On bars, she had a 9.55 score to finish tenth. She tied for sixth on beam with a 9.725 score while placing eighth on floor (9.775).
“Everybody really responded today and the result was a terrific score,” said Coach Vicki Chliszczyk, who closed out her second season as the Tigers’ coach. She now has a 38-6 record in two years as the Tigers’ head coach.
“While Kacy was the standout of the meet, no team can get a score like this without contributions from everyone,” Chliszczyk added. “We had 24 routines and we hit all 24 routines. That enabled us to build properly throughout each rotation. It was very satisfying because we earned this score in a road meet. We were alternating routines so all eyes were on us while we were competing. But, we handled the pressure very well.
“With the ECAC Meet coming up next weekend, I think we are peaking at the right time,” Chliszczyk added. “Our confidence is very high right now.”
The Tigers started the meet on bars and came through with a 48.45 team score as Catanzaro earned a 9.80 and sophomore Allison Antenucci had a 9.725 score.
In the second rotation, the Tigers vaulted and took control of the meet Catanzaro (9.90), Poplaski (9.80) and senior Avis Hixon (9.775) led Towson to a 48.775 vault score as a team. At the midpoint of the meet, the Tigers owned a 0.55-point lead over GW. The Tigers had a 97.225 score while GW owned a 96.675 score.
The Tigers went to floor exercise for their third rotation and responded with a 49.175 team score. Russell led the way with a 9.925 score as she finished first in the meet. Catanzaro tied for second with a 9.875 score while Hixon also matched her career high with a 9.85 to take fifth place. Poplaski contributed a 9.775 score while senior Kady Sullivan earned a 9.75 score.
Closing out the meet on balance beam, the Tigers clinched the victory with a 48.85 team score, their best score of the season. Catanzaro finished first with a 9.825 while sophomore Alexa Davis, competing in only her second meet of the season, finished second with a 9.775 score. Davis had missed the first nine meets of the year while recovering from off-season elbow surgery. Russell tied for second with Davis with a 9.775 sco re while freshman Lauren Ross earned a career high 9.75 score to tie for fourth.
The 2011 ECAC Specialist of the Year, Hixon (left) became the 45th gymnast in Tiger history to score 1,000 points when she received a 9.775 on vault. She now has 1,016.65 points.
The Tigers return to action on Saturday when they compete for ECAC Championship at the Palestra in Philadelphia at 12 noon. The Tigers, who have won six of the last seven ECAC championships, will be seeking their 15th ECAC championship.
COLLEGE GYMNASTICS: 1. Towson 195.225; 2. George Washington 193.925.