Friday, April 10, 2009

Dealing with defeat

When I walked out of the James Moore Field House about 30 minutes ago I stepped into a drenching downpour. Perhaps it was the gymnastics gods raining on what could have easily been a TWU Pioneer victory parade tonight at Southern Connecticut State University.

If you read my post-meet write up, you saw that Coach Kudlac summed up tonight's defeat in one word - disappointing. The General seemed stunned by the loss, just like the rest of the TWU gymnasts, coaches, and fans. The Pioneers' started unbelievably strong tonight as they rocked floor and vault. However, at some point between the second rotation and the end of the meet, the team hit a wall. It was almost like things were going to good at the start - we were up by a point and a half after two rotations. That lead proved to be too good to be true in the end. Bridgeport and Cornell came on strong while we faded.

The pain of this loss was obvious after the meet. Lots of tears, lots of distraught faces. Everybody took it pretty tough. I felt horrible for our girls, they worked insanely hard this year - 6:00 a.m. runs in September, two-a-day practices over Christmas and Spring Break, a ton of time in the practice gym - and to fall short of their ultimate goal tonight was definitely painful.

This team will bounce back though, starting tomorrow afternoon in the Individual Event Finals. This is a tough group, and they'll make amends for this loss. Junior Keri Miller told me as much in a brief conversation we had a little while ago. I had stopped to console her and Keri gave me a determined look and said "Ten in 10." I was puzzled for a second, so Keri repeated the phrase, "Ten in 10," and added "I'm serious, Jeff." You have to love Keri's attitude. She's already planning on winning the Pioneers' tenth national title in 2010. I wouldn't bet against her.

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