The Bulldog gymnastics team won their tri-meet against MIT and Southern Connecticut despite an uncharacteristically low score that seemed unlikely to win them anything.
In a meet tainted by low scoring, Yale beat out Southern Connecticut (180.95) and MIT (173.325) with its lowest team score all season, 184.400. The score is 3.481 points lower than the Bulldog’s season average, and 5.575 points lower than the mark they earned against Southern and MIT last week.
Although the scores were lower, the Elis still managed to post a significant four-point win — similar to their margin of victory over the same teams last week. Yale gymnasts won every event except the vault, where they managed to wrap up second through fifth. The Elis dominated the floor exercise, arguably their strongest event, as Miki Seltzer ’07 took first with a 9.6. Kathryn Fong ’05 led the Bulldogs in individual victories, winning the uneven bars with a 9.6 and the balance beam with a 9.450. Fong is ranked seventh overall in the New England region for uneven bars with an average of 9.75.
Although the Elis were pleased to win the event, many felt the low scores were discouraging.
“I was really happy with our performance,” said team captain Christine Lacy ’05. “But it was a little frustrating with the scoring.”
This year, collegiate gymnastics is attempting to reform the scoring system. Judges are focusing on making a routine’s difficulty a greater factor in scoring. For example, under the old scoring system, in a floor exercise a gymnast could rack up bonus points during the less demanding dance phase of their routine and end up with the same score as someone who got those bonus points from a more difficult phase, such as a tumbling run.
Fong said that the new scoring system tries to take this discrepancy into account.
“What they’re trying to do is recognize girls who are doing the harder routines,” she said. “Girls who do really hard skills should have a higher score.”
According to Anne McPherson ’06, whose team-leading score of 36.125 in the all-around was good for third overall, the new judging parameters make it difficult to evaluate their team’s performance.
“We’re in a transition phase where everyone’s been judging differently,” she said. “In the Northeast [until now], the scoring has been pretty much the same as last year.”
In an individual meet, tighter scoring doesn’t matter, since all the teams are affected equally. However, in collegiate gymnastics, a team is ranked based on its average for the season. Although this meet’s score probably won’t get counted, as the team’s highest and lowest scores are thrown out of the calculation, it certainly doesn’t help the team reach nationals. The top three teams from each region earn a berth.
Even though the low scoring was surprising, the gymnasts did not let it affect them.
“It’s frustrating to have a score not reflect the actual performance,” Fong said. “It’s something that’s just going to have to work itself out.”
Looking ahead to their second meet with Brown next weekend, the Elis hope to continue their winning ways.
“We’ve seen Brown already,” said Lacy. “We know that we should go in and win.”