Over break, the Yale gymnastic team opened its season with a solid first place finish at MIT. Despite injuries, the team rallied to a strong 182.8-point finish, with captain Alina Liao ’09 winning the all-around competition.
The meet opened on the uneven bars with Liao leading Yale competitors with a high 9.7. Returning from last season, Allison Mak ’10 and Sarah Hughes ’09 scored 8.7 and 8.85, respectively. Margaret Greenberg ’12 and Claude De Jocas ’12 performed in their first collegiate events to round out Yale’s five-member squad.
“It was really exciting we could get five routines together,” Greenberg said.
Before the meet, the freshman team had been particularly plagued with injuries. Out of the original six freshmen coming in, only five were able to practice and of the five, bad ankles, elbows and the common cold plagued their ability to compete.
“Ideally you want to compete six people, we could only do five,” Liao said about the team’s struggle with injuries. “Some of the upperclassmen had to do more than they have in the past and a couple freshmen really stepped up. Everyone gave 100 percent.”
Greenberg, a walk-on this year, had expected to perfect her high school club vault routine, but has had to create a new uneven bars routine to fit the needs of the team.
Greenberg asserts that the Elis competing on uneven bars are catching up with their counterparts in the other three events. However, as in seasons past, the beam proved the team’s best event last weekend.
“We were incredibly rock solid on the beam,” Greenberg said. “There were barely any bobbles and only one fall.”
The Elis swept the top places in the competition. Liao led the group with a 9.825 and first place. Mak and Lauren Tatsuno ’09, each with a 9.775, shared second place.
Liao, Brigitte Kivisto ’10, Tatsuno, Sherry Yang ’10, and Hughes scored strongly on the floor exercises with a 9.7, 9.6, 9.475, 9.3, and 9.2, respectively. Liao tied for first in the event, and the others placed closely behind.
Yang competed in three events this meet, and it was her first meet competing in all three events.
“I scored the highest on the floor exercise, it felt good because I didn’t do my normal tumbling passes,” she said.
When her usual passes are added back in, she adds, she is excited about the prospect of even higher scores.
In the final event — the vault — Liao and Tatsuno placed second and third with 9.425 and 9.35, respectively. Mak scored a strong 8.85. Micaline Tomeo ’09 and Yang received scores of 8.675 and 8.825 in their first collegiate appearance on the vault. Tomeo, who joined the team last year as a walk-on, had competed in high school, but has only just begun her collegiate career. Seeing her compete, Liao said, was an exciting moment for all the team.
“We all sort of felt the surge of optimism for what will come ahead,” Liao said of the meet.
Yale finished the event in first place followed by Ursinus and Cortland in second and third places, respectively.
Yale competes at Penn’s annual dual meet next weekend beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.