Unexpected mishaps cost Elis league win

After a hectic week of injuries and apparatus mishaps, the Bulldogs just didn’t have enough to pull off a victory against Ivy League rival Penn last weekend.

The Yale women’s gymnastics team lost to the Quakers, 187.05-183.95, at their first dual meet on Saturday. Members said the loss was mainly due to a lack of practice time last week, following a series of unforeseen problems, including a breakdown of the uneven bars apparatus.

Miki Seltzer ’07 competes in the floor exercise on Jan. 28, 2006. Seltzer tied for second in vault last Saturday at Penn.
Betny Townsend
Miki Seltzer ’07 competes in the floor exercise on Jan. 28, 2006. Seltzer tied for second in vault last Saturday at Penn.

Captain Sarah Peterson ’07 said the bars were the team’s main weakness at the Penn meet because the broken equipment had severely limited the team’s practice time in that event. The team’s overall score also suffered from multiple falls throughout the competition.

During practice earlier in the week, Peterson missed a release on the uneven bars and dislocated her elbow. This injury prevented her from competing this weekend and could keep her out of competition for the rest of the season.

“All the unexpected events last week definitely caught us off guard,” Peterson said. “The Penn meet was disappointing, but it’s an inspiration for us to work harder because we know we can do a lot better.”

Despite the challenges, the team gave strong performances in the floor and vault events, scoring higher than Penn on vault and just half a point less on the floor routines. The vault event was especially successful with team members sticking multiple landings. Miki Seltzer ’07 and Lauren Tatsuno ’09 tied for second on vault with a 9.575. Alina Liao ’09 won the beam event with her score of 9.55.

Peterson said the team will be focusing on performing clean routines without falls and sloppy mistakes such as stepping out of the line, bending legs and wobbling on beam. Jessica Tai ’07 said improving general confidence will be a key goal for the entire team.

“We have the potential to be a really good team,” Tai said. “If we put in the time and practice, we could be really good. The skills are there, and the confidence and consistency just need to come with practice.”

Tai said the team has also been confronted with uncertainty about coaching for the program. Yale’s previous assistant coach left to take a position at University of California at Davis, and the team had been training with Kip Reed, their new assistant coach. But due to health problems, Reed recently had to be replaced by yet another coach, Byron Knox, of the Bridgeport gymnastics program. The coaching situation will become even more bizarre this weekend when the Elis face Knox’s Bridgeport squad.

Though the team struggled this weekend, team members remain positive about the rest of the season, especially the Ivy League championships at the end of February and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) championships in March.

“Penn wasn’t a great meet, but it won’t have a huge influence on the Ivy League champs, which is our big meet,” Jessica Blick ’07 said. “Unlike most teams, our Ivy Champs is just one meet at the end, and our overall record will have no bearing on our performance at that meet.”

The Bulldogs will be competing in a tri-meet with Bridgeport at Southern Connecticut this weekend.

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