McPherson ’06 leads Elis over SCSU, MIT

In a tri-meet against MIT and Southern Connecticut State, the gymnastics team managed to pull off its second and third straight home victories.

This time around, the scoring was tight. The Bulldogs scored 189.975 points to beat the Owls’ 184.150 and the Engineers’ 183.925.

The Elis had success on the vault, where Jessica Tai ’07 scored the day’s high with a 9.65, but struggled on the bars and beam. Even though they recorded falls, the Bulldogs still won both events, spurred on by the performances of Katherine Fong ’05, who scored a 9.85 on bars, and Anne McPherson ’06, whose 9.775 was the highest score on beam for the meet. The Elis finished strong, putting together arguably their best performance of the day on the floor exercise.

The Bulldogs’ victory this week is all the more impressive because they were able to overcome some early mistakes. It was a contrast to last week, when the Elis jumped out to a significant lead over Brown after the first three events by hitting all 18 of their routines.

Head coach Barbara Tonry said the Bulldogs appeared to be poised for another dominating meet after the vault. However, in the bars and beam, she said that the Elis suffered from one balance error after another, which put huge dents in their scores. Each fall counts for a .5 point deduction.

“When one of the girls is on the beam,” team captain Christine Lacy ’05 explained, “We’re all up there with her.”

After the bars, Tonry said she took the team outside for a talk to try and break the negative chain of events. She stressed that the meet was half over and told the gymnasts to consider the beam and floor as a new start.

“When you let the performance before you affect your performance, that’s when you get in trouble,” Tonry said. “I tried to gear them into the moment.”

Although the Elis were not perfect on the beam, they did win the event. But the floor exercise was where the Bulldogs really turned their meet around.

“The girls did a good job getting themselves back,” Tonry said.

The floor scores were startling. Five of the six routines were scored a 9.8 or higher, with McPherson winning the event with a 9.9. McPherson also won the all-around competition for the second meet in a row, amassing 38.150 points.

“Having the floor last is really good — we get to show it off,” McPherson said.

Indeed, the event is always the most energized for the Bulldogs, with a vocal crowd cheering them on and music playing in the gym.

“We go all out,” McPherson said. “We knew if we hit, we could get huge scores.”

One of the factors that may have derailed the Bulldogs from perfection was health. Lacy said that many of the gymnasts were sick during the week, so they were not able to practice as hard as usual. The team’s schedule is also fairly hectic; during the season, the team has a meet every weekend.

Tonry said she plans on giving the team an extra day of rest so they will be more prepared for their next meet when the Bulldogs face Southern and MIT again.

Kristen Campbell ’08 performs in the floor portion of the Bulldogs’ home meet with MIT and Southern Connecticut Saturday. The Elis fought back to triumph over the Engineers and the Owls.
Betny Townsend
Kristen Campbell ’08 performs in the floor portion of the Bulldogs’ home meet with MIT and Southern Connecticut Saturday. The Elis fought back to triumph over the Engineers and the Owls.

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