Despite losing to No. 12 Michigan State, gymnastics in Maryland showed potential

Dressed in shiny all-red leotards, Maryland Gymnastics competed at home in College Park for the first time since March 13, 2022. It was the end of a long, 322-day wait for the Terps, who hosted a fierce No. 12 Michigan State on their home opener.

“I feel like I couldn’t wait to get back in after last season,” said Elizabeth Debarberie. “It’s a feeling like no other.”

The Terps suffered their first loss of the season against the Spartans, 196,950-196,425. But under the lights and surrounded by a sea of ​​red seats, coach Brett Nelligan’s side posted the highest total points of the young season.

Back on the bar was Debarberie, competing in multiple events for the first time since the West Virginia Tri Meet. Debarberie earned 9,800 to help the jet unit score 49,075.

“We’ve steadily improved since we first met and I think we’ll continue to do so,” said Debarberie.

Rhea LeBlanc improved to a season-high 9.825 on the uneven bars. Her strong form and ability to fly from bar to bar allowed her to beat her previous season high of 9.725, set in last week’s meet against Nebraska.

[Maryland gymnastics beat Nebraska in Big Ten opener, 195.875-195.325]

The all-around consisted of four gymnasts, three of whom were Spartans. Maryland Representative Emma Silberman tied for third place with Gabrielle Stephen of Michigan State. Silberman and Stephen each scored 39.325 points in all four events.

The stands were filled with posters and cheers. Fans of all ages rallied to cheer on the Terps on their home debut in 2023.

It was a sight to behold for Nelligan and Silberman.

“It was just great. Everyone came out and supported us,” Silberman said. “That really helped us.”

“They give us that energy and, you know, they’re into it,” Nelligan said. “All the little kids sitting in the front row cheering us on… it was a lot of fun.”

[Maryland gymnastics opens season with West Virginia Tri-Meet victories]

Last season, Michigan State defeated Maryland, 196,875-195,950. Today the terps suffered only a 0.525 difference.

“This is a really good team, Michigan State,” Nelligan said. “I mean, they’re not number 12 by accident.”

The key to the terps’ highest scoring this season is confidence, Silberman said. She expressed pride in how well the team worked together and felt that the communication between the individual gymnasts was very strong.

Aleka Tsiknias and Sierra Kondo combined for a 9,900 on the uneven barsthe highest scores in all events throughout the season far for Maryland.

“I just love how tough they are,” said coach Nelligan. “We’re really close to where we want to be.”

The Terps will travel to Columbus next week to take on state No. 11 Ohio.


Leave a Comment