The Wolfpacker

January 2019

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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JANUARY 2019 ■ 69 and feel the success and experience that. We are a sport that nothing really happens until January and then the culmination of our sport is in April. "There's all that training, and it took a while for them to have that ah ha moment and say, 'Wow.' I think that was great for them to be able to say, 'Hey this is the result of not one day of competition, this is the result of hard work, buy in, coming together to do it when it counted.' I think that will inspire them this year." The most accomplished returner is Drew Grantham, a junior who was second to Knight in podium finishes last year with 19, including eight first-place efforts. Grantham was first-team All-EAGL in the vault and all-around and second-team on the balance beam and floor exercise. She was the co-champion in the vault at the EAGL Championships. "Drew is continuing on from where she left off which is great," Landrus noted. "She is getting better every day." Landrus is also counting on senior Paris Phillips, the 2017 conference champion in the floor exercise, to take on a larger role after having limited action a year ago and make "a vital impact on the program." Al- though she missed most of last season with an injury, Phillips was still second-team all-conference in the vault. Sophomore Lauren Kent is another prime candidate for progression after a strong de- but season during which she was named the EAGL Rookie of the Week once and first- team all-conference on the uneven bars. Landrus has good balance returning in the different apparatuses, evidenced by NCSU being picked first in the preseason EAGL poll. Senior Alexa Phillips was first- team all-conference on the vault after being second-team the prior two years, while Grantham and senior Caitlyn Fillard were second-team performers. Landrus is count- ing on a healthy Paris Phillips to boost the vault group. The uneven bars event has the potential to be much improved this spring. Landrus noted that freshman Meredith Richardson "is just a natural." "Her lines are great," Landrus added. "It is her event. Look for her to make a very big impact." Senior Maggie Tamburro and Kent were first-team all-conference a year ago on the bars, and Fillard was a second-team se- lection. Western Michigan transfer Alliah Harrison, a redshirt sophomore, and junior Melissa Brooker, a first-team All-EAGL performer on the bars in 2017, have also been training well. Floor exercise is another area where Paris Phillips could significantly boost the Pack's lineup, complementing first-team all-conference performer Alexa Phillips and second-team member Grantham. On the balance beam, NC State lost two first-team All-EAGL standouts in Nicole Wild and Knight. Grantham was second- team in the event, and Landrus has been impressed with Harrison, calling her "phe- nomenal on beam." ■ Last season, head coach Kim Landrus' squad won the program's sixth East Atlantic Gymnastics League title. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS Noting The Pack • It did not take long for head coach Kim Landrus to become a fan of NC State's historic Reynolds Coliseum. "I think Reynolds is amazing," she said. "It's a wow facility. It's so good for our fans. It's not super big. We were able to have over 3,000 people sev - eral occasions last year, which is close to a sellout for Reynolds." Landrus added that recruits are instantly drawn to the facility. "It's just one of those bright-eyed moments when you walk in," Landrus described. • NC State had an impressive 13 gymnasts make the All-EAGL Scholastic Team last year: departed seniors Mackenzie Itcush, Chelsea Knight, Taylor Murphy and Nicole Wild; seniors Cailyn Fillard and Maggie Tamburro; juniors Melissa Brooker, Drew Grantham and Hailey Mesmer; and sophomores Lauren Kent, Kasey Nelson, Victoria Prati and Sara Watson. Brooker, Fillard, Grantham, Itcush, Knight, Kent, Mesmer, Tamburro and Wild were also named Scholastic All-Americans by the Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association. All nine held a grade point average of 3.5 or better. Newcomer To Watch Redshirt Sophomore Alliah Harrison Harrison is a transfer from Western Michigan, and head coach Kim Landrus believes that Harrison has a chance to make an immediate impact for the Wolfpack in the uneven bars and balance beam. Harrison is a local product from Middle Creek High School in Raleigh. ■ By The Numbers 6 EAGL championships won by the Wolfpack since the league was formed in 1996. 17 All-EAGL honors collected by NC State last sea- son, its most since 2012. 39.550 Former gymnast Chelsea Knight's score in the all-around in a meet last March with Ohio State and Central Michigan, tying the school record and the highest mark since 2002. Three Gymnasts To Watch Junior Drew Grantham Grantham competed in every meet as a sophomore, earning first-team all-conference honors in the vault and all-around, and winning a share of the EAGL title in the vault with a career-high score of 9.900. She was also second-team all-conference on the balance beam and floor exercise. Grantham set career-highs in the all-around, beam and bars during the season. Senior Paris Phillips An injury limited Phillips last season, but head coach Kim Landrus is counting on her to have a significant impact in her return to the lineup. She was the 12th NC State gymnast to win the EAGL floor championships when she captured the crown in 2017. She is also a two-time all-conference member on the vault. Sophomore Lauren Kent Head coach Kim Landrus noted that Kent now "knows what to expect and she's really embraced it." Kent finished on the podium five times during her rookie season and was first-team all-conference on the uneven bars. She was able to participate during every meet in the season, competing in the balance beam in addition to the bars.

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