LaCrosse, Wisc. - March 27, 2015 - In her final collegiate meet, senior Abby Clark (Holderness, N.H.) went out on top as she won the 2015 National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) National Championship on the balance beam on Saturday afternoon at Mitchell Hall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse.
Clark tied her school record mark of 9.775 as she became the first Springfield College women's gymnast to ever win a national championship on the balance beam. This marks the eighth individual national championship in program history and the first since Gina Gutierrez won on the vault in 2000.
"To be national champion is indescribable and I have so many emotions right now. As soon as I landed my dismount, I knew that I just put together one of the best routines of my life," said Clark. "This shows that hard works pays off and is the icing on the cake of my career."
"It's extremely special for Abby. She has worked so hard and been right on the brink and this year her beam has been so consistent I knew that she was right there," said head coach Cheryl Raymond. "Today she was in the zone, and really hit an extremely strong routine. I am so thrilled and proud of her."
Teammate and fellow captain Lauren Pocius (Wallingford, Conn.) also capped off a remarkable career at Springfield as she was honored as the NCGA Co-Senior Athlete of the Year.
"My career at Springfield has been incredible, and I accomplished more than I ever thought I could," explained Pocius. "I worked so hard and to finish as an All-American today and be named the Co-Senior Athlete of the Year is priceless. I am so grateful for everything that Springfield College has done for me. It's so special to send Coach Raymond off like this. Tonight Abby and I wanted to do the best we could, and we knew we could achieve great things if we put it all out there for Coach Raymond."
"Lauren has had a remarkable four years and its been wonderful to see her grow and get stronger and better each year. Lauren and Abby are such great leaders and the coaches recognized that with honoring Lauren tonight," said Raymond. "This is such a great way to cap off my career."
Pocius earned NCGA Second Team All-America honors on Saturday as she tied her school record on the uneven parallel bars with a 9.775 to finish in eighth place. A night after earning All-America honors in the All-Around, Marissa DeAngelo (Brookfield, Conn.) garnered NCGA Second Team All-America on the vault as she tied for 12th with a 9.600.
In her first trip to the national meet, Briana Kerr (Bolton, Conn.) just missed on All-America honors as she placed 13th on uneven parallel bars with a 9.650.
Additionally, it was announced tonight that Springfield College Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Dr. Craig Poisson, was selected as the NCGA East Region Administrator of the Year.
This marked the final meet for Coach Raymond, who has spent the last 35 years as not only a professor in the Physical Education department at Springfield, but also as the women's gymnastics coach. Under her watchful eye, Springfield College women's gymnastics has seen 40 All-Americans pass through the program as well as six national champions, not to mention the hundreds of student-athletes that have been impacted during Raymond's career.