Gymnastics finishes in fourth at ECACs

At their last meet competing alongside the class of 2005, the underclassmen of the Yale gymnastics team gave their leaders a performance to remember.

As the final meet of the season, the nine-team ECAC Championships proved to be a battle between several evenly matched squads. As the only ECAC team ranked in the top 50 nationally, Towson won the meet handily with 194.525 points, out of reach of second place URI’s tally of 192.225. Penn eked out a narrow third with 191.975, while Yale’s 191.100 placed them fourth. Among the teams that competed, URI, Yale, William and Mary, Temple, Penn and Cornell all have season averages within less than two points of each other.

Although Yale had beaten URI and Penn the first time they faced them, the Bulldogs were still pleased with their performance, which was only about four-tenths of a point off of their season high 191.525 at the Ivy Classic.

“We felt really good. We obviously had a really good score, and we hit almost every event,” team captain Christine Lacy ’05 said. “It was really good to beat the other Ivies, William and Mary, and Temple.”

Many Elis had some of their best performances in this meet, Lacy said.

Recovering from an injury to her ankle earlier this season, Suchitra Paul ’07 showed a return to form at this meet, where her floor routine earned a 9.8 from the judges. Last year, she won the floor exercise at the ECAC’s with a crushing score of 9.9.

“I haven’t been on floor for a while because I injured my ankle — I’ve just been doing bars and beam,” Paul said. “You always have to deal with all these little injuries that aren’t major enough to stop you completely, they just bother you. It’s part of the sport.”

Jessica Tai ’07 also had a breakout performance. With a 9.375 on the balance beam and a 9.725 on the vault, she surpassed her season averages in the two events by five and four tenths of a point, respectively.

As usual, Kathryn Fong ’05 had a standout routine on the uneven bars, leading the Elis with a 9.8 in the event, while Anne McPherson ’06 had another solid performance in the all-around — a 38.25.

Even though the season ended for most of the team, McPherson and Fong will continue on to the NCAA individual regional championship in two weeks. Fong will compete in her specialty, the uneven bars, while McPherson will compete in the all-around.

“I’m really excited — it’s going to be a chance to really compete against these big schools,” McPherson said. “It will be fun to see the bigger gymnastics programs.”

For the seniors on the team, this meet provided an emotional ending to a memorable season. Before spring break, the Bulldogs won every meet but one and claimed the Ivy title.

“This is probably the best season that I’ve had, and it’s great to end it on such a positive note,” said Lacy. “I’ve been doing this for 19 years, and that was my last day of gymnastics.”

Paul mentioned that the seniors will certainly be missed.

“Our team dynamic has gotten so much better since last year, and I think Christine had so much to do with it,” Paul said. “She wanted to make sure we had fun, enjoyed it as a team, and just did our best.”

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