UW STOUT Sticks the Landing, Nationals Ahead

UW STOUT Sticks the Landing, Nationals Ahead

ABOVE PHOTO: UW-Stout Coach KJ Wheeler talks with senior Kiara Brown during the WIAC/regional meet March 9 when the Blue Devils qualified for the national tournament.

 The 22 members of the University of Wisconsin-Stout women’s gymnastics team are ready to enjoy their ride to the national meet this week, even if it does involve a 16-hour bus trip.

“You work so hard for so long. It’s just really exciting to be able to show what you’re capable of doing at nationals…”

The destination is Collegeville, Pa., for the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association Division III tournament on Saturday, March 23. It has been their goal all season, one they reached after a clutch performance March 9 in the conference/regional meet.

UW-Stout will look to improve on last year’s third-place national finish. “There’s a different buzz in the air at nationals. This one you earned the right to compete at. We want to leave with no regrets, put our very best on the floor and see what happens,” said Coach KJ Wheeler, in her first year after three years as an assistant.

Junior Effie Ferguson is looking forward to seeing what she and her teammates can do. The six teams that qualified will go head to head at Ursinius College beginning at 2 p.m. For championship information and livestream links, go here.

“You work so hard for so long. It’s just really exciting to be able to show what you’re capable of doing at nationals. There’s still more in us. We can do more. This opportunity has motivated everyone on the team,” said Ferguson, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

The Blue Devils earned an at-large berth in the meet after scoring 190.775 in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Conference and NCGA regional held simultaneously at Hamline University in St. Paul. It was their third best score of the season. They took fourth place in the WIAC.

The score helped UW-Stout beat out Ithaca College of Ithaca, N.Y., by about one-tenth of a point to earn the final national berth, which was based on seasonal average score.

UW-Stout now has qualified as a team for three of the past four NCGA championships. Tournaments were canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

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