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The champions have come home.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh women’s gymnastics team returned to the Oshkosh campus Monday from Ithaca, New York, where the Titans captured the fifth national championship in the program’s history and 48th overall for the University.

The victorious student-athletes and coaches were welcomed back at Kolf Sports Center by a group of UW Oshkosh administrators, faculty and staff, the Bolt Band and other faithful Titan supporters. UWO Athletics Director Darryl Sims led a short program for head coach Lauren Karnitz and her team.

“This was the most unbelievable welcome that anybody could get and you guys are absolutely amazing,” Karnitz told those gathered to celebrate the team’s arrival just before noon. “You can’t even imagine how much this means to this group.”

The UWO gymnastics team took home the program’s fifth national championship over the weekend.

The gymnasts finished their season Saturday with a first-place finish at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) Championship. Five Titans earned All-America awards, including Emily Buffington, a sophomore multimedia journalism major from Huntersville, North Carolina, who finished first on the uneven bars and Trinity Sawyer, a junior nursing major from Alpharetta, Georgia, who earned two All-America awards at the six-team meet.

“This one means even more to us because of all we’ve been through these last four years and this team, from freshman up to seniors, really showed a lot of poise under a lot of pressure,” Karnitz said.

The UWO team took fourth place at the 2019 NCGA Championship. Both the 2020 and 2021 meets were canceled because of the pandemic, so many from the program waited three years for another title shot.

Along with Buffington and Sawyer, Titans Rahdea Jarvis, Olivia Keller and Emily Gilot earned All-America honors.

“It was really special for everyone to be here supporting us,” Buffington said. “It really shows how big the Titan community is and how much they support us.”

Lauren Karnitz ’06, ’12 MSE, head coach of the UWO gymnastics team, exits the team bus Monday morning as a national champion.

UWO Chancellor Andy Leavitt also briefly addressed the group, calling national championship No. 48 for the University the latest chapter in what he calls “the golden age of Titans,” referring to the recent run of six championships in just over a decade. He also highlighted the significance of seven Titan seniors being named to the NCGA All-America In Academics Team, most in all of Division III.

Those seniors are Gilot, Jarvis, Keller, Kaira Hammond, Haley Minor, Rachel Morris and Alyssa Nore.

“All of you will remember this for the rest of your lives,” Leavitt said.

The national title is the first for the gymnastics program since 2007. The win was secured by a Division III-record score of 194.100 and it capped a season where the Titans went unbeaten against Division III competition.

The Titan gymnastics team returned from New York Monday with memories they’ll never forget.

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