Sports in Brief: Elis finish seventh at ECACs; Liao ’09 snags bid to NCAA Regionals

Alina Liao ’09 took fifth place individually, but the gymnastics team finished seventh out of eight teams at this past weekend’s ECAC Championships in Williamsburg, Va.

Towson won the event with 193.95 total points, while Yale finished with 186.65.

The Elis, who have been stretched thin all season, had to overcome a pre-meet injury to Brigitte Kivisto ’10 — a loss that left them scrambling to fill the void. While they were able to account for the loss of Kivitso in three of the four events, no one took her place on the floor.

Yale entered the event ranked fifth in the ECAC but posted one of its lowest scores of the season en route to the seventh-place finish. Lauren Tatsuno ’09 said the uneven parallel bars sealed the Elis’ fate: Liao was the only Eli gymnast to finish in the top 30 in the event.

Liao’s consistency stole the show for the Bulldogs. The Ivy League champion in the beam, floor and all-around took third on the floor and fifth in the all-around Saturday; with her performance she grabbed a spot at NCAA Regionals in two weeks in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“She had a really good meet and put everything together,” Tatsuno said. “It wasn’t a surprise she did so well, but we’re really glad she did.”

The loss of Kivitso, which left Yale shorthanded, underscored the hurdles the team had overcome all season. Competing against teams with bigger rosters, the Elis were always vulnerable to the surprise injury that could make simply filling all the necessary spots difficult.

In light of the difficulties expected at season’s start, Tatsuno said she and the team were pleased with how well they had handled the short roster.

“We really didn’t expect to do as well as we did all season,” she said. “Obviously this last meet wasn’t as good of an indication of how we did all season.”

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