ACC Gymnastics Week 8 Recap: Clemson breaks into 197s, NC State completes conference sweep

By Kasey Nelson | February 25, 2024
Clemson’s Sierra Church on beam.
© Clemson Athletics

The ACC gymnastics season highs continued as Clemson dominated North Carolina on Friday night with their top score to date (197.350) while NC State swept the conference (6-0) on Sunday with a win against Pitt and a 196.850, the team’s top road score, raising them to No. 21 in the nation.

Read on for the highlights from the last of the ACC battles before the conference championship on March 23.

UNC @ #24 Clemson

Final score: Clemson: 197.350 – North Carolina: 195.500

The Tigers started their night strong on vault with a 49.2, improving by four-tenths from the previous week. The rotation was highlighted by Lauren Rutherford’s big Yurchenko 1.5 to match her career high of 9.925 and take the title. The Tar Heels kept it close with a 49.15 on bars. Lali Dekanoidze anchored with a stuck double layout to earn a 9.925 and the bar title. After Rotation 1, the Tigers led the Tar Heels by only half of a tenth.

UNC matched their bar score on vault with a 49.15, and Kaya Forbes notched the team’s best score of 9.9 for her Yurchenko full. Clemson built off of Rotation 1’s energy, scoring a 49.250 on bars. Eve Jackson led the Tigers with a 9.9 to nab a career high. After two rotations, Clemson increased its lead to nearly two-tenths.

As the Tar Heels took a turn on floor, the team struggled to stay in bounds and had to count three scores of 9.625 or lower. Their highest score was Gwen Fink’s 9.825. The Tigers bounced back after last week’s beam (48.625) and tallied a 49.3, a season-high performance. Kielyn McCright posted a 9.9, and Sierra Church anchored with a stuck 1.5 for a career-high 9.925 to capture the event title. After the struggles on floor from the Tar Heels, the Tigers maintained their dominant lead.  

In the final rotation of the night, UNC scored a 48.75 on beam after having to count two scores of 9.65. Hallie Thompson led the Tar Heels with a 9.85. On floor, Clemson fired a huge 49.6 to secure the win and earn their best score of the season (197.350). All five counting scores were 9.9+, but Rebecca Wells stole the show with a 9.95 to take home the floor title. Wells also won the all-around with a 39.45.

Upcoming matchups: 

#24 NC State @ Pitt

Final score: NC State: 196.850 – Pitt: 195.200

At home, the Panthers led off with a 48.95 on vault, just missing the 49 mark. Shruthi Anand tabbed Pitt’s highest score of 9.825. The Wolfpack were solid right out of the gate with a 49.3 on bars. Emily Shepard highlighted the rotation with a stuck full-twisting double back to secure the bars title with a 9.95, and the Wolfpack led the Panthers by 0.350 after Rotation 1.

In Rotation 2, NC State increased their lead to 0.475 after earning a 49.15 on vault with Ashley Knight’s first-place finishing 9.875. On bars, Pitt earned a 49.025, highlighted by Arayah Simons and Jordyn Ewing’s 9.85s.

Beam continued to plague Pitt during the third rotation, where they had to count a falling score of 8.950 to post a 47.925. Hallie Copperwheat anchored with a 9.875 to lead the team. On floor, the Wolfpack scored a 49.225 with all five counting scores at 9.8+. This week, they couldn’t quite break into the 9.9s, but Shepard and Chloe Negrete led with 9.875s. 

The Panthers got back on the right track on floor with a 49.3 to close out their meet. Jah’Liyah Bedminster highlighted the day with a 9.9 to grab the event title. NC State ended with a 49.175 on beam, where Negrete put the cherry on top of the meet with a 9.9 in the anchor spot to secure the title and Wolfpack win (196.850). Shepard also put up an all-around score of 39.500.

Upcoming matchups: