Missed meet could hurt gymnastics



The Towson Tigers thought they would have a chance to avenge their Feb. 1 loss to the upstart Bulldogs. Mother Nature, however, thought otherwise.

With teams all over the East Coast planning to compete in the 18th annual Towson Invitational Sunday, Towson was forced to cancel the meet because of inclement weather, leaving the Bulldogs with an off-weekend and the Tigers with little chance for revenge.

But the cancellation may pose problems for both the Elis and the Tigers. Yale (8-2) was counting on the Invitational to be a high-scoring meet that would boost the team’s Regional Qualifying Score average. The RQS is determined by taking the top six total meet scores for each team, three of them on the road. The team’s highest score is dropped and the remaining five scores are averaged. The teams with the top six RQS averages in each region are eligible for NCAA Regional Gymnastics Championship meets.

So far, Yale has competed in three away meets and hosted two others. The Elis have a 190.465 average, but that includes a remarkable 194.800 score against Towson Feb. 1 that will likely be dropped in the final compilation.

According to this weekend’s rankings, Yale is No. 2 in the Northeast, behind Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh, New Hampshire and Rutgers. This weekend’s ranking was the last compilation of the season to just average team totals. Next weekend’s rankings will employ the RQS system to determine regional and national rankings, dropping each school’s top overall score.

And what has suddenly become a two-week break without official competition also concerns the team, Andrea Wolf ’03 said.

“As much as it would be nice to have another weekend off, it might be better if we don’t,” Wolf said. “Our next meet is Ivies, and getting out of the practice of competition might be detrimental.”

Yale’s next competition, the 27th annual Ivy Classic, is scheduled for March 2 at the University of Pennsylvania’s Palestra. Yale last won the Ivy Classic in 2001 and has won 12 times total.

Because only four of the Ivy League’s eight schools have women’s gymnastics programs — Brown, Cornell, Penn and Yale — there will not be an Ivy League champion. Over half the Ancient Eight’s programs must compete in a sport for the league to declare an official champion.

Wolf said the team had been looking forward to the Towson Invitational.

“It’s usually a high-scoring meet,” Wolf said, “And it’s usually fun. There would have been some good competition.”

Head coach Barbara Tonry, snowed in at home in Hamden, said she had been trying to schedule a make-up meet for this coming weekend, but it would be difficult to do so.

“It would be nice to have had that meet this weekend because I had planned a break for them to rest up before Ivies,” Tonry said. “It’s very hard to schedule something for this weekend. We may try to make it up during spring break, but there is not much else you can do. We’re scheduled every weekend from Ivies up to ECACs.”

The championship for the Northeast region will be at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., April 12. The top two teams in each regional competition continue to the NCAA National Championship event, held April 24 to April 26 at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb.

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