OSHKOSH (WLUK) - UW-Oshkosh gymnastics is headed back to the national championships where a year ago they won the title while setting the D-3 scoring record in the process. This Saturday at Winona State will have the opportunity to make it back to back. As our Cody Krupp reports, it took a little longer for the Titans to get in championship form, but things seem to be clicking at the right time.
Not long after being announced as national champions for the first time since 2007 the returning Titans came to the realization...
"Coming into this year we knew things were going to be different," said junior WIAC All-Around champion Emily Buffington.
"We had that background pressure people thinking we are going to be this amazing national champion but we had a new team," sophomore WIAC balance beam champ Delany Cienkus said.
"This season definitely started out a little rocky but it's been building up and we are making a name for ourselves again," added Buffington.
The new pieces to the puzzle trying to repeat in 2023 sure came together last weekend.
"When we got to conference it was just like a whole different energy, they just were ready," said Titans head coach Lauren Karnitz.
Not only did they win their third straight WIAC title, but their final score set a conference championship record.
"It was amazing , awesome, I don't think any of us were really expecting to win going into it. Plus that big of a win it was a shock to everybody that we just got it and pulled it out when we needed to," Cienkus said.
"Practice so far this week has been kind of the same feel so I see no reason why we can't take home a second championship," said Coach Karnitz.
When you have been the head coach of a program as long as Karnitz has...
"16 years later I feel like I kind of have it figured out a little bit."
You can see that kind of WIAC championship performance coming before it actually happened.
"We have from start to finish just every piece of our puzzle is really strong, anyone could be All-American/all-conference and that's what really special about this team is the overwhelming talent. I keep reminding people this has not always been our experience," Coach Karnitz said.
This was not always a program winning or even competing for national championships. Even as recently as a couple years ago they were just trying to not finish last in conference, but here they sit 2022 championship banner already up and going to have a chance to do it again this weekend.
"If we have the same kind of meet as this past weekend I think we come home with a trophy," Karnitz added.
"We had a huge crowd, a lot of people there cheering us on. Going to nationals we might not have as big of a crowd but we are still going to keep the energy high in our team," added Buffington.
May have taken a little longer but UWO is again is in championship form.