Gymnasts stumble to third at Rutgers

The past couple weeks have been a roller coaster ride for the gymnastics team, and this weekend ended up at an disappointing low.

The Bulldogs, with a score of 184.075, fell to host Rutgers (190.5) and Pittsburgh (192.95) but beat Brockport (183.425) at a quad meet this Saturday. Although the team’s overall score was disappointing, the meet featured some strong individual performances, team members said.

“We all felt like we could have had stronger performances, but there were some high points,” captain Sarah Peterson ’07 said. “I definitely think we can do better — we all need to work on hitting our routines on the same day.”

Members of the team said they struggled with consistency this weekend, starting off slowly on the beam, which is usually one of its strongest events. Their overall score was hurt by multiple falls on bars and beam and the fact that only a few people were able to hit their routines, team members said.

Despite the slow start, the Bulldogs were able to give strong individual performances. Although some of her teammates struggled with consistency on the beam, Allison Mak ’10 turned in a solid routine and earned a 9.575. On the floor event, Miki Seltzer ’07 earned a 9.775 and tied for second place. Alina Liao ’09 tied for second in the all-around competition with her score of 37.925.

Earlier last week, following a Jan. 27 meet at Southern Connecticut, two of these three Bulldogs won Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference awards. Mak received the Coaches’ Choice Award and Seltzer was recognized as Specialist of the Week for the second time for her career-high score of 9.825 on the floor event last weekend. In addition, after scoring 36.625 in the all-around competition, Brigitte Kivisto ’10 earned the title of Rookie of the Week.

The competition against Rutgers and Pittsburgh was especially tough this week, team members said. Because both schools offer full scholarships and have strong programs, team members said they were mainly focusing on their own performances.

Although they did not expect to beat the two teams, they were disappointed by their own team performance.

“In terms of place, we pretty much ended where we expected to,” Jessica Tai ’07 said. “We’re disappointed in our own performance, which was one of the weaker ones in the past couple weeks, but it showed us a lot of things we have to work on in practice.”

The absence of Laura Lombardi ’08, who usually competes in three events, also affected the team’s performance. The team had some difficulties with filling the lineup but was able to have some people step up to fill the holes. In the vault event, in which Lombardi usually competes, the Bulldogs only had five vaulters competing, as opposed to the normal six. Usually only the top five of the six scores are taken into account when tallying up the team’s final score. Because they only had five competitors, the Bulldogs did not have any leeway for lower scores — though in the end, all five of Yale’s vaulters gave strong performances with solid landings.

At practices, the team will focus on consistency and on the uneven bars, which team members say is the Bulldogs’ weakest event.

This weekend, the Bulldogs will be competing against Southern Connecticut at the first home meet of the season. Team members said they are looking forward to performing in front of a home crowd because the encouraging atmosphere will give them more motivation during practice and more confidence during the meet.

“We’re all really excited because it’s our first home meet after many meets,” Liao said. “It’s hard to keep our enthusiasm and momentum going after multiple weekends, but since the meet will be at home, it will really help our performance.”

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