Yale gymnasts struggle at regionals

Jamie Green ’04 and Kathryn Fong ’05 traveled alone to the University of Michigan April 12-13 as Yale’s only representatives at the NCAA Northeast Regional Women’s Gymnastics Championships.

Neither girl qualified for the national championships. Fong placed 16th in a field of 20 competitors in the all-around, and Green finished 25th of 40 competitors in the floor exercises.

Fong said she was very happy to be there.

“I had a great time, everything was very on schedule, there were lots of fans,” Fong said. “It’s a big meet, and I was proud to be there to represent Yale gymnastics. It’s the kind of competition where not everybody can go, and it was a very big thing for me.”

Green said she was also happy with her performance.

“I think everything went very well and it was definitely a fun trip,” Green said. “I did floor and I was excited to be able to be competitive with the people on the teams we were facing.”

This was not the first time that Green and Fong have traveled to the NCAA regional championships. Fong qualified in 2002 in the all-around, and Green contended in the all-around in both 2001 and 2002.

Before spring break, Yale seemed well on its way toward an NCAA berth, but several tough meets over the break dashed the Bulldogs’ hopes. Low scores against Rutgers, Penn State and New Hampshire meant that only Yale’s top individual performers would be going to Ann Arbor.

So when 36 teams competed in six regional championships around the country for a chance to travel to the National Championships, which begin April 24 at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Yale was not among them.

Team captain Shoshanna Engel ’03 said she was proud of Green and Fong, despite the team’s failure to qualify.

“Our goal for the season was to qualify as a team, and individuals have to do well to accomplish that,” Engel said. “It speaks to [Fong and Green’s] accomplishments towards the team goal that they qualified as individuals. They both had really strong seasons and built momentum as the season went on, which is really important.”

Fong said being without her team, fatigue, an injured wrist and bronchitis contributed to the fall on floor that relegated her to the bottom half of the finishers, but she was still satisfied with her performance.

“Being without the team makes it a little bit harder,” Fong said. “I wasn’t really expecting to qualify for nationals — it seemed pretty unlikely, and I wasn’t there to qualify for nationals, I was there to hit routines. It was the last meet of the season, my body was tired, I did my best and I can’t really ask for more. Overall, however, I’m satisfied.”

Green’s victory in the floor exercise and Fong’s win in the all-around in the ECAC tournament guaranteed them berths at the NCAA regional. Leeron Avnery ’06 and Andrea Wolf ’03 were both alternates, as Avnery’s performance in the all-around and Wolf’s score on the bars were not quite high enough to send them to Michigan.

Yale (14-9) finished second at the ECAC tournament March 29 in the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Engel, perhaps, best summed up the team’s feelings.

“I’m very proud of them,” Engel said. “I think their teammates are proud of them too, both in that we were represented and that they represented us well.”

Gymnastics team member Andrea Wolf '03 works the bars March 29 at the ECAC championships. Wolf was an alternate for the NCAA Northeast Regional Women's Gymnastics Championships.
Cory Needle
Gymnastics team member Andrea Wolf '03 works the bars March 29 at the ECAC championships. Wolf was an alternate for the NCAA Northeast Regional Women's Gymnastics Championships.

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