Barb Gibson has been the head coach of the UW-La Crosse gymnastics team for the past 29 years. On Friday, she will lead the Eagles to their 29th trip to the NCGA Championships held in Ithaca, New York.
Over her past 28 visits, La Crosse has walked away with 15 NCGA titles. However after winning four straight from 2008-2011, the Eagles finished 3rd and 2nd respectively in 2012 and 2013.
"For the last two years we walked into nationals pretty banged up. This year I feel we've got a good, competitive, healthy group," said Gibson.
That group is coming off a great performance at the WIAC/NCGA West Regional on March 2. The Eagles walked away from Whitewater winners with a team score of 188.200. Among the competition was 2013 NCGA National Champion UW-Whitewater.
That sort of showing could serve as a great springboard into their biggest meet of the season.
"This year more than anything I've never been so confident going into nationals as a team and as an individual," said senior Morgan Shene. "We had a great conference championship."
Sophomore Sheree Romesburg captured a pair of individual conference crowns on March 2. She'd like to experience the success UW-L had prior to her arrival.
"Some of us don't know what it feels like to win at nationals and they (upperclassmen) do," said Romesburg. "So it helps to know they are there supporting us every single day just so we can have that same feeling that they had."
Coach Gibson knows 2014 has the potential to end with another championship banner hanging in Mitchell Hall.
"I think they're hungry. This group really wants to return to the top."