Yale head coach Barbara Tonry knew it would be tough for her team to maintain the momentum they gained in last week’s comeback victory against Penn. Still physically drained from the last meet, the Elis also had to compete with four of their members sidelined by injuries.
But the Bulldogs showed their true colors Saturday by solidly defeating the MIT Engineers 184.900-175.625 in New Haven. For the second straight week, Kimberley So ’09 took home the all-around title with a score of 36.850, buoyed by her outstanding vault (9.775). Miki Seltzer ’07 continued to shine, earning a 9.8 — the meet’s highest individual score — on the floor exercise.
Since MIT is a Div. III team, several Bulldog gymnasts said they saw the meet primarily as practice for tougher future competition.
“This is supposed to be a really big confidence boost for us,” Seltzer said.
But despite their easy victory, team members said the meet did not go as well as they had hoped it would. After last weekend’s thrilling win against Penn, the Elis said they found it tough to get into the practice mode again.
“It’s very difficult to come off the meet like we had last weekend, which was very emotional and very close,” Tonry said. “Everyone was tired. It was a tougher week than we’ve had since we’ve started.”
Adding to the team’s mental struggles were its physical woes. Injuries to four players, including captain Anne McPherson ’06, substantially depleted the Bulldogs’ ranks. Tonry said some of the players who stepped in were not familiar with the pressures and nerves of the competition. But she said she was proud of their efforts, which clearly paid off.
“They stayed on the bars, and it was good to know that those kids can step right up,” she said. “That’s what makes them team players.”
Tonry said she also saw some positive improvements, especially in the uneven bars. During the last meet against the Quakers, the bars plagued the team. But after concentrating on the event during practice this week, the team looked a lot more confident, Seltzer said.
The main concern this weekend was the balance beam, known as the most difficult event of the meet. Bobbles, slip-ups and errors troubled the Bulldogs.
“We did a really great job on beam last week, and it was hard to measure that,” So said.
But she said she remained positive about the Bulldogs’ ability to regain their finesse during practice this week.
The Elis will take on Temple, University of Minnesota and University of New Hampshire next weekend at the Fox Run Invitational. McPherson said she hopes to rejoin the team this weekend. Team members said the meet will be important for testing their level of performance, since Temple is a member of the ECAC and UNH is a national top-20 team.
“Next week, our big focus is to be really clean, see how Temple is and do the best we can against UNH,” Seltzer said. “We’re really going to have to be on our game.”
Tonry said she remains content about the progress so far and it just takes time to gain the consistency needed for gymnastics.
“Our goal is to go 24 for 24,” she said. “24 hits for 24 routines.”