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The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

‘Undeniable’ Quinnipiac falls short of NCATA National Championship

Ben Kane
Quinnipiac prepares for an element during the NCATA National Championship semifinals on April 26.

FAIRMONT, W. Va. — Tears are one of, if not the most telling human emotion. 

Humans cry when their hearts are full, bursting with more happiness than they can take. They cry when their hearts crumble, when everything spills onto the ground because it can’t be kept inside.

Head coach Brandy Duren cried with No. 3 Gannon when it received an 88.290 on its team event, awaiting its opponent’s results.

The stunned No. 2 Quinnipiac followed suit, letting emotions go when the difference between an NCATA National Championship berth and a bus ride back to Hamden was 0.700 points.

“Every time we even talked about getting here to nationals this week (it was) chills,” graduate student back base Melanie Reed said. “Every time the coaches said something, (it) was chills. Every time we got into a huddle and a senior said something it was chills, like we felt it. We felt this.”

It wasn’t sweet revenge by any means for the Golden Knights, who fell to the Bobcats in the NCATA quarterfinals last April. It was a battle. And Gannon sure liked the taste of a 266.615-265.315 upset.

“I kept telling them that this is it,” Duren said. “This is where we fight. It doesn’t stop here. It’s not over until the end of the team event.”

The scales never tipped toward the Golden Knights. It was Quinnipiac who dominated the first five events, leading 179.725-178.325 heading into the team routine. 

But that doesn’t mean Gannon wasn’t kicking and scratching, keeping itself within 1.4 points of a resilient Bobcat roster.

“We were saying give it all you got, that’s all you can do,” senior tumbler and base Brianna Arre said. “Don’t hold back and believe in each other. Do it for each other. I think that’s why we came out on top because we did it for each other, we didn’t do it for ourselves.” 

Quinnipiac had the ferocity to capture the final flag, but a costly fall from freshman base and tumbler Tiffanie Smith during the team event shuddered the flame. And there they were. Tears, extinguishing the ember on the left side of the gym.

“This team has been nothing but undeniable this whole year and I’m so proud of each and every one of them,” senior base Tiffany Zieba said. “Although we came out with a loss, which is not where we wanted to be, you know, we’re together.” 

Huddled around the warmth that enthused every woman in a Gannon uniform, a second spark ignited. Just “pure excitement,” as Arre put it.

“We were just saying that it was ours, and crying,” Duren said with a laugh. 

Crying because their hearts were fuller than they could take. Because the Golden Knights reached a feat that only two teams reach.

There it was again. Tears, contagious as ever. 

Quinnipiac cried next to Gannon, not with it. The Bobcats were crumbling, not out of weakness. They couldn’t hold on to what was inside — they were devastated. And so they let go and spilled everything onto the mats. 

That’s why humans have tears. To tell others what they can’t — for better or worse. 

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Amanda Dronzek
Amanda Dronzek, Sports Editor

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