Gymnasts to host Towson



The gymnastics squad knows how to beat the same team twice.

On Jan. 11, Yale beat Brown University 188.200 to 184.600 in a quad meet at the University of New Hampshire. Then, on Jan. 19, the Bulldogs won at Brown 186.800 to 183.875.

Hopefully, the double wins will continue Feb. 1 when Yale faces Towson University in the first of two meetings between the schools this winter at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

“The team is looking forward to it,” captain Shoshanna Engel ’03 said. “It’s a lot of fun to compete when the bar is raised. We’re so excited to compete against a school we haven’t competed against this year and to be at home.”

Yale (5-2) and Towson (7-2) last met at the 17th annual Towson Invitational on Feb. 16, 2002. Yale finished third out of five schools, behind George Washington University and Towson.

Engel said the home meet will be good for the team’s freshmen.

“It will be very exciting for our freshmen to have their first home meet,” Engel said. “As fun as competing is, being at home is that much more exciting — it’s just a lot of fun.”

While the Bulldogs have not lost since the first meet of the season, the perennially strong Towson squad will prove a significant challenge to Yale’s winning streak.

The Tigers also have not lost since their first winter meet. They won a major quad meet at James Madison University Jan. 17 and another tri-victory at Rutgers University Jan. 25. The Tigers average 194.075 team points this year, almost five points ahead of Yale’s 189.450 point average.

Two Towson competitors may prove especially tough opponents for the Bulldogs: seniors Kristen Presutti and Jenn Baierleen, who both rank among the top 80 female gymnasts nationally. The highest-ranked Eli is Kathryn Fong ’05, who is ranked 141st nationally. Leeron Avnery ’06 is also nationally ranked.

Fong and Avnery are Yale’s primary weapons. Avnery earned ECAC Rookie of the Week honors for the period from Jan. 6 to Jan. 12. Fong was named ECAC Athlete of the Week for the period from Jan. 13 to Jan. 19.

Towson is not as intimidating as they seem at first, Avnery said.

“My coach just told me that Towson just barely beat Rutgers, and we weren’t that far off when we faced Rutgers,” Avnery said.

On Jan. 25, Towson beat Rutgers 193.050 to 192.825. On Jan. 11, at the quad meet hosted by New Hampshire, Rutgers narrowly snuck past Yale, 190.850 to 188.200.

“The goal of this weekend is to hit all of our routines and get the best scores we can get,” Avnery said. “If we can do that, we can win.”

And the meet offers the teams a chance to get to know each other; on Feb. 16, the Elis head south for the 18th annual Towson University Invitational meet in Towson, Md.

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