The women’s gymnastics team apparently likes to save its best for last.
Entering the final two rotations in Saturday’s meet, the women’s team trailed archrival Penn by 1.175 points. But the Elis were unfazed by the deficit, and with the completion of their last rotation on the floor exercise, the team narrowly topped the Quakers, 187.675 to 187.075. Kimberly So ’09, ECAC Rookie of the Week, left John J. Lee Amphitheater with a victory in the all-around competition, posting a 37.975. Teammate Alina Liao ’09 was not far behind, nabbing second place with a 37.700.
After a decent vault rotation and shaky bar routines, the Bulldogs needed a change in momentum and solid routines to come away with a victory. Their wish was answered by the outstanding performances of three freshmen on the balance beam. One after another, So, Lauren Tatsuno ’09 and Liao hit their routines perfectly to re-energize the Elis. So and Tatsuno ultimately tied for first in the event with 9.675.
“That was a huge boost for us,” Miki Seltzer ’07 said.
Despite their effort, the Bulldogs were still down by eight-tenths of a point. But the Elis were not about to give up. Fortunately, their last rotation was the floor exercise, one of their strongest events. Their confidence and consistency in the event persevered.
“After the first people hit their floor routines, I think it just fueled the rest of the team to hit their routines, and we just rocked,” Seltzer said.
As the Bulldogs were excelling on the floor, the Quakers were struggling with the balance beam, plagued by mishaps and falls, allowing the Elis to pull ahead and defeat Penn. Seltzer and Liao recorded the top scores for the floor exercise with a 9.650.
The Bulldogs said concentrating on their own performances instead of comparing themselves to the Quakers was crucial for maintaining their focus and consistency.
“We weren’t really focused on how far behind we were,” So said. “We just knew what we had to do and what we had to hit.”
So also said she credits the team’s late surge in the meet to their improved endurance.
“Everyone is making their last tumbling passes and their last skills on beam,” she said.
Although team members said they were ecstatic about their come-from-behind victory, the Elis said there is still work to be done, especially on the bar. Still, their hard work in practice seems to be paying off.
“We’re going to do what we’ve been doing, because it seems to work,” So said. “We improved tremendously from last weekend.”
After this latest confidence boost, the Bulldogs said they feel their routines are finally coming together. But it does not stop there.
“Up until now, it’s been a lot of getting through routines, not perfecting them.” Tatsuno said. “Now we are getting down to the details so we can shave off tenths of deductions.”
Next Saturday, the Bulldogs will take on MIT at home. After a taste of victory this weekend, team members said they are confident that they can continue building on their momentum.
“Winning feels awesome,” Liao said. “We are going to keep the awesome feeling going, one meet after the next.”