The Bowling Green State University gymnastics team represented well at the NCAA Regional Championships, as all-around qualifiers Alyssa Nocella and Megan Harrington each hit all of their routines in front of a packed house in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Nocella, a freshman, finished 11th overall with a score of 38.550, with Harrington close behind in 12th place with a score of 38.525. Nocella also posted the ninth-best score of the night on floor exercise, hitting her tumbling for a highlight of 9.85.
After botching her routine at Mid-American Conference Championships, Nocella nailed a strong set on the uneven bars to begin the meet with a 9.625. She then moved to balance beam, where she is the reigning MAC champion. Though she showed some nerves at the beginning of the routine, Nocella stuck her remaining elements to score 9.425. She continued with a precise performance on floor exercise and ended the meet with a successful vault (9.65).
Harrington was steady throughout, beginning with a rousing performance on floor exercise that scored 9.7. Clean efforts on vault (9.575) and bars (9.6) brought her to the balance beam, where she competed with all eyes on her, as the meet's final performer. Harrington rose to the occasion, hitting all of her skill and finishing with a stuck dismount for a 9.65.
Nocella and Harrington's placings are the highest from the Bowling Green gymnast at regionals since Breanne Guy finished tenth overall in 2009. Nocella's floor exercise score of 9.85 is the highest single-event score by a Falcon gymnast since 1999.
With a strong showing against many of the nation's top gymnasts at regionals, the 2013 season comes to a close for the Falcons. In what was a standout year in program history, the Falcons posted three of their highest team scores since 2005, crowned two MAC champions and saw head coach Kerrie Beach honored as MAC Coach of the Year.