GVSU gymnasts start strong in Buckeye Blast

Lakers earn top-three finish in first competition of season

By Mark Washburn | 2/1/15 3:42pm


Grand Valley State’s club gymnastics team took third at the Buckeye Blast over the weekend against a field of 14 other schools. Penn State (142.65 points) took first, Ohio State (141.4) placed second and the Lakers took third (132.75).

“Penn State and Ohio State are bigger schools with a lot more depth,” said sophomore Nicole Lasecki. “We are a smaller school, and some people have never heard of us.

“To finish top three makes us really happy.”

The point system in gymnastics takes the four highest scores per event and counts those toward the final score. Combining their scores on the four events gave GVSU 132.75 points and the third-place finish.

In the first of two sessions, GVSU took first. During the walk-in, team members started cheering and got loud – and it seemed to help get the energy going.

The Lakers started on bars, and hit their routines well. Many members performed bars with a high degree of difficulty, which is the hardest event to have high start values.

Next, the Lakers went to beam. Beam isn’t the strongest event for the team – there were some falls, but a majority of the competitors were able to stay on, which really helped the score.

The third event, floor, is where GVSU really got the competitive spirit flying.

“We all did super well on floor and we nailed our routines,” said freshman all-around Stephanie Peterson. “We got crazy loud and obnoxious cheering each other on.”

Vault was the final event for the Lakers, which is considered the strongest event for the team.

“We have a lot more higher-level vaults,” Lasecki said. “Most teams gave one or two good vault scores, while we have five to six good vault scores.”

For many of the members, this was their first experience at a collegiate gymnastics meet. For freshmen like Peterson and Brittany Moyer, it was rather eye opening.

“The scoring was different, but the team really helped get the nerves out and everyone was pretty impressive,” Moyer said.

Lasecki was happy with the way newcomers adapted to the atmosphere.

“Some underclassmen were a little shocked, but they kept pushing through,” she said. “We are more laid back and team oriented in college.”

The athletes were also able to overcome injuries and illnesses to earn third place, which was a great start to the season for the Lakers, showing resilience and drive.

“We are super supportive of each other and have a great team dynamic,” Moyer said. “The family atmosphere and cheering really helps us get pumped for our routines.”

The Lakers travel to Miami University next weekend to compete in the Miami Cup.        

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