The Wolfpacker

November 2015 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 123 of 155

122 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER N C State gymnastics coach Mark Stevenson knew that he was fac- ing a challenging year last season. His 2014 squad had seven seniors, a group that included vital contributors. Among them were: Stephanie Ouellette, the 2014 East Atlantic Gymnastics League all-around champion; Diahanna Ham, third in the 2014 EAGL Championships in the vault and a first-team all-conference selec- tion as a junior in the vault and all-around; Hannah Fallanca, a second-team all-con- ference pick in vault and balance beam as a senior; and Kristen Harabedian, second- team All-EAGL in 2014 on the uneven bars and floor exercise. "Going into this last year we had three returning athletes, and we really knew we were going to struggle because we had a hard schedule and had to go through growth periods," Stevenson recalled. The Wolfpack relied heavily on class- mates Brittni Watkins and Michaela Wood- ford, then juniors, and the now-departed Lane Jarred, while the newcomers broke into the lineup. Not surprisingly, the Pack went through the anticipated growing pains, but the gains made by the end of the season have raised hopes for the looming 2016 campaign. "We weren't consistent early on, and we weren't very good," Stevenson said. "We raised from a 40th in the country team to a 25th in the country team. We feel like we are starting off this year, because of the ex- perience level, as a 20-25th in the country team. We are looking forward to moving up off that." Watkins and Woodford will once again be two of the leaders for the team. Watkins is already one of the most accomplished gymnasts in NC State history. "She doesn't like to lose," Stevenson noted. Last year, she qualified for the NCAA Championships in the all-around and be- came the first Wolfpacker to earn a second career All-America honor when she was named a second-team performer on the bal- ance beam at the NCAA Championships. During her sophomore season, Watkins was honored as the EAGL Gymnast of the Year and named a second-team Regular Season All-American in the all-around by ■ PREVIEW GYMNASTICS HigHer Hopes Wolfpack Aims To Build Off Last Season's Progress Newcomer To Watch Maggie Tamburro — The freshman from Hum- melstown, Pa., was a two-time Junior Olympic na- tional qualifier, the state champ in the vault in 2014 and the all-around winner at the 2015 Barb Krothe Invitational. NC State gymnastics coach Mark Ste - venson said of Tamburro, "She's hard working and super intelligent." Senior Brittni Watkins qualified for the NCAA Championships in the all-around and earned second-team All-America honors on the balance beam a year ago. PHOTO BY LARRY BLANKENSHIP

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