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Clemson sets program record in win over UNC

Ashleigh Snyder
The inaugural Clemson gymnastics team is now 5-2 (4-2 ACC) after defeating UNC on Friday night.

The No. 24 Clemson gymnastics team set a new program record and simultaneously defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels for the second time this season by a score of 197.350 to 195.500, and several Tigers had themselves a historic night.

Redshirt senior Rebecca Wells took home a new career high on floor with a near-flawless 9.950, earning herself all-around champion in the process. Freshman Sierra Church broke her previous record of 9.825 on beam with a 9.925, while redshirt junior Eve Jackson matched her 9.900 personal best on bars.

To begin the meet, the No. 24 Tigers took to the vault. Wells opened scoring for the Tigers with a 9.800, followed by Jackson and Molly Arnold with the same score. Lauren Rutherford took home the highest score for Clemson to match her season-high of 9.925, and Kate Bryant closed out the rotation with a 9.700

Clemson held a slight lead following their opening event, notching a 49.200 to the Tar Heels’ 49.150 after their turn on bars.

If one adjective could be used to describe Wells, it would be dependable. As the first Tiger to take to the bars for rotation two, her routine drew only minor deductions to garner a 9.850, which Trinity Brown matched to close the bars out. The highest scorer for the Tigers was Jackson, simultaneously earning herself a new season high with her career-best 9.900.

“I just feel like the whole night was spectacular,” Clemson head coach Amy Smith said. “For the last three weeks, we’ve been battling illness like I’ve never had in my entire coaching career. So, for them to weather that storm and come out tonight, and we’re just about firing on all cylinders getting a few people back, so really excited about them holding it together and doing what they did tonight.”

Jackson’s performance helped widen the Tigers’ lead, as they finished their second rotation at 98.450 to the Heel’s 98.300 to increase the margin from 0.05 to 0.15.

For her final event of the night, redshirt freshman Lilly Lippeatt landed a solid 9.850 on beam, followed by redshirt sophomore Brie Clark’s first performance of the meet after sitting out vault and bars, earning a 9.775. Jackson scored 9.200, followed by Wells with another 9.850. The final two Tigers scored highest, with Kielyn McCright matching her season-high 9.900 and Church’s 9.925, marking the highest score of the event between both teams.

Following the end of the third rotation, the Tigers held a comfortable one-point lead at 147.750 to North Carolina’s 146.750.

The Tigers shined in the fourth and final rotation on floor, led by Wells once again with her 9.950. Clark and Arnold tied for second with a 9.925, while Jackson and Rutherford clocked in at 9.900, and Maggie Holman drew up a 9.825.

Clemson hits the road for its next meet in Denton, Texas, where the Tigers will compete against Texas Women’s University, No. 1 Oklahoma and the University of Pennsylvania.

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Grace O'Donnell
Grace O'Donnell, Sports Editor
Ashleigh Snyder
Ashleigh Snyder, Photo Editor
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