PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Less than a week removed from posting the best score in Division III to date, the Ursinus College gymnastics team did itself one – or two – better on Saturday night. Sharing the gym with Division I programs Rutgers, Michigan State, and Cornell, the Bears rang up a remarkable 191.350, their best team tally since the 2015 NCGA East Championship and a full two points better than the score they registered in last week's dual at Temple.
Ursinus finished fourth behind the host Scarlet Knights (194.875), Michigan State (194.050), and Cornell (193.525), but the visitors from Division III proved it belonged on the big stage with a staggering performance. The Bears recorded season highs in all four events, led by a 48.150 on the beam and a 48.100 on the floor; Ursinus scored a 47.850 on the bars and a 47.250 on the vault.
The Bears did not register a single score below 9.125, and got eight scores of at least 9.600 in taking over the top spot in Division III in overall team average. Junior Alexandra Puryear was the team's first all-around performer of the year and netted an overall score of 38.175.
Once again, the beam proved fruitful for Ursinus, which had four of its six competitors earn at least a 9.675. Senior Jillian Casarella posted a 9.775 for the second time in as many meets, placing sixth overall and raising her season average to 9.72, and junior Amanda Palladino scored a season-best 9.725. Puryear was right behind with a season-high 9.700, and freshman Skylar Haas was awarded a personal best 9.675.
All but one Bear earned a season or career high on the floor, led by Puryear's 9.750 that landed her in a tie for 12th place overall. Freshman Eleanor LaFountain scored a 9.675, and fellow rookie Breanna Couts got a 9.600. Junior Heather Brubaker received a 9.550, and freshman Sabrina Tusavitz rounded out the Ursinus top five with a 9.525.
Casarella and senior Vanessa Scalora led the way on the bars, each tallying a 9.675 to achieve a season best. Sophomore Lindsay Rush scored a 9.650 to outperform her previous benchmark by nearly a half-point, and senior Lauren Chavis collected a 9.500. Junior Kelsey Stewart had a 9.375 and Puryear was given a 9.200.
Brubaker was the top performer on the vault, notching a 9.575. Puryear (9.525) and Stewart (9.500) were close behind, and LaFountain matched her season best with a 9.350. Rush's 9.300 was her best of the year, and freshman Courtney Pearson closed the Bears' scoring with a 9.200.
The gymnastics team returns to Temple for the Ken Anderson Memorial Invitational on Saturday, February 4. The Bears will share the McGonigle Hall floor with the host Owls, Pittsburg, and West Chester.