Coming off of a two-week rest, the women’s gymnastics team dominated Brown in their first home meet of the season.
In a meet the Bulldogs controlled from the beginning, the Eli gymnasts put in their most consistent performance, beating the Bears 191.25 to 184.15. All six Bulldogs “hit” in the vault, uneven bars and balance beam, meaning they completed their intended routines without falling or taking other major deductions. In addition, Anne McPherson ’06 won the all-around competition with a score of 38.075, while Katherine Fong ’05 had the highest score in any event with a 9.85 on the bars.
The Elis showed a marked improvement from their Jan. 16 meet at the University of Rhode Island, where they placed second with 185.1 points. Their meet last week against Ivy rival University of Pennsylvania was cancelled. Gymnasts cited the extra weekend of preparation as one factor that led to the higher scores.
“We had two weeks basically to get in better shape and tweak everything,” said McPherson, who scored a 9.75 on the bars and beam. “We looked a lot better this weekend.”
Head coach Barbara Tonry agreed, saying that the team was more prepared for this meet, although she also pointed to the Elis’ home-field advantage. Since the home team supplies the equipment, she said, they have an opportunity to become more familiar with it.
“It was a home meet, and it always feels good when you’re in your element,” she said. “The kids felt really comfortable.”
The Bulldogs’ displayed their confidence in the opening three events, where they put the Bears away early on by hitting their first 18 routines. With each hit, the crowd became more vocal, and the gymnasts starting gaining momentum. Team captain Christine Lacy ’05 said by the time they reached the bars, the Elis knew they had control of the meet. The team reached its peak on the beam, usually the hardest event, when all six team members completed their routines without recording a fall.
Tonry said team morale was on the rise, spurred on by the Elis’ successful start.
“They’re starting to believe that they’re a very good team,” she said. “It all comes together when they all feel confident in their performances.”
Last year the Bulldog’s morale was sapped by a grueling schedule, which included many distant away meets against high-caliber teams, Lacy said. This year, she said, the schedule is more forgiving.
“We love home meets,” Lacy said. “They’re so much more fun — just knowing that your friends are out there watching you makes you want to do so much better.”
Looking forward to the Ivy League Classic, Tonry said the team has a few more kinks to work out.
“We still have work to do,” she said. “We need to get in there and get more endurance in floor.”
Floor, usually a strong suit for the Bulldogs, was the weakest event for the Bulldogs this time around — the only one where the team recorded falls. Lacy, a successful all-around performer, led the Bulldogs with a 9.8 in the event.
The Elis are hoping to stay healthy and maintain their high scores coming in to next week’s home meet against Southern Connecticut State and MIT.
“Hopefully, we can maintain,” said Tonry. “We need every one of those kids in good shape.”
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