By Andrew Yourell, Staff Writer
A crowd of over 1,200 packed the Lundholm Gymnasium on Sunday for the Wildcat Invitational, when the Wildcats took on Brown, Towson and West Virginia. It was also the Stick It For A Cure Meet, to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research, and the ‘Cats stuck it, electrifying in a 196.525 point performance, the program’s fourth-best score all time.
Leading the way was sophomore Meghan Pflieger and junior Kelsey Aucoin. Pflieger won the meet’s all-around competition with a score of 39.375, a personal record, which was aided by first-place performances on floor (9.950) and beam (9.875). Aucoin tied Pflieger on beam, and added a first place finish on vault (9.875) and a third place on floor (9.900).
“I am very happy with the performance today,” Aucoin said.
It was the first time she competed in the vault this season. She has battled a series of nagging leg injuries this season, but after the meet said that she was feeling strong.
Coach Gail Goodspeed was also thrilled with the team’s performance, citing 11 personal bests as indicative of the team’s depth. But as always, she realizes that there were areas the ‘Cats could clean up to further improve their scores.
“Basically a full team effort as we hit 22 of 24 routines,” she said. “Our top gymnasts on bars and beam actually missed and the score would’ve been even higher if they had hit their sets … We need to continue to pay attention to details; hitting handstands on bars and sticking dismounts on all events as well as in tumbling passes on floor.”
Goodspeed cited Aucoin and Pflieger’s efforts, but also raved about the team’s freshmen, including Casey Lauter, who took third in the all-around with a personal best of 39.225. Goodspeed is already thinking ahead, as the Wildcats end their homestand and take to the road for the next few weeks.
“The comfort of home with our own fans and not having to travel has added to our confidence and our competence. Our next step is to take that performance on the road and perform to our best even when faced with travel challenges,” she said.
Both Aucoin and Goodspeed mentioned how important events like Stick It For A Cure are for the team. Neither has family with breast cancer, but Goodspeed’s father has battled cancer for the better part of a decade.
“Everyone has been affected in some way by cancer,” she said. “We hope that every effort to find a cure for any type of cancer will lead to a cure for all cancers. It [Stick It For A Cure] is a chance to remember those we have lost and to support those going through treatment and surviving with breast cancer.”
The Wildcats hope to take the good vibes with them on the road, as they travel to Brown University on Sunday, February 15th for a 1 p.m. showdown with the Bears, the Bridgeport Purple Knights, and the Southern Connecticut State Owls.