Experienced and riding a wave of confidence over the past month, UW-L gymnastics is poised to repeat as national champions.
The Eagles head to this weekend's National College Gymnastics Association Championships in Brockport, New York looking to win its 17th title in school history. UW-L took home the title in 2015 after a record-setting night at Mitchell Hall.
This year, experienced gymnasts like sophomores Amy Enright and Samantha Wiekamp lead the Eagles back to the national stage. Both won event titles at the WIAC Championships earlier this month, and both shared the national uneven parallel bars title in 2015.
Preparation hasn't been different this year, Wiekamp said. The goal is to improve from the last time the team competed.
"Our goal isn't to beat anyone else, it's really just to do to better than we've done before," she said. "I guess at this point is to do better than we did at conference."
UW-L won the conference championship for the 18th time in the last 23 years after posting a score of 191.8 at Mitchell Hall, the second-highest in single season history. The team set the record two weeks earlier at a quad hosted by Iowa State University (192.9).
Head coach Barbara Gibson, who recorded her 800th career win at the WIAC Championships, said this year's nationals will be a three-way battle between La Crosse, UW-Whitewater, and host SUNY-Brockport.
"The last three weeks have really been a lot of our best performances," Gibson said. "I think the athletes are walking into nationals this year just extremely confident."
Enright finished third in the all-around competition last year. This year, she became the first athlete in school history to win back-to-back conference bars titles.
The team competition and all-around competition are Friday in Brockport, New York. The individual competition is Saturday.