GYMNASTICS | Home crowd cheers gymnasts

Last Saturday, the University of Bridgeport’s Purple Knights bested the Bulldog gymnasts for the second weekend running. Yale fell 186.900 to 184.125 in what ended up being a well-fought battle with the deeper Bridgeport team.

Despite the overall loss, the Elis placed first in three of the four events. Alina Liao ’09 captured the all-around title as well as the bars and floor competition, and Lauren Tatsuno ’09 captured first on beam.

Brigitte Kivisto ’10 performs her floor routine against Bridgeport in the Elis’ home opener last Saturday, taking third overall with a 9.775 score.
Charlie Croom
Brigitte Kivisto ’10 performs her floor routine against Bridgeport in the Elis’ home opener last Saturday, taking third overall with a 9.775 score.

Team members said the home crowd was a bonus.

“It was wonderful — it was so great to see so many familiar faces in the crowd,” Sherry Yang ’11 said of competing at home. “So many of my friends were there. It was a huge treat.”

Students packed the lower benches of the John J. Lee Amphitheater to watch as the Elis started the day on vault, the only event where all the Bulldogs earned more than a 9.0. Micaline Tomeo ’10 started off the day — her first competition in a Yale home meet — with a solid 9.075 on a tucked Tsukahara. With a pike Yurchenko, Yang followed with a 9.3. Tatsuno, Liao and Allison Mak ’10 made up the rest of the Eli squad scoring a 9.4, 9.45 and 9.525, respectively. Each performed a layout Yurchenko.

Liao earned a 9.8, a career best, on the bars which put her in first place. The rest of the squad struggled, however, with three falls and a pause on the high bars. Given that the Bulldogs only had five competitors in the event in comparison to the six allowed, they were forced to count all of their falls in the final score.

“Bridgeport had a huge team,” Yang said. “There is definitely something to be said about strength in numbers.”

As in the last few weeks, falls on the beam proved troublesome to the Yalies, with three of the five gymnasts falling during their routines. Yang began the series with an 8.5, Liao contributed a 9.1 and Mak earned a 9.2. Mak’s approach to the beam — a crowd-pleasing, impressive flair — was reminiscent of the men’s pommel horse event. Brigitte Kivisto ’10 scored a 9.625, her fourth strong routine in as many weeks. Tatsuno scored a 9.7, earning her both the first place finish and the right to throw a T-shirt to the excited crowd.

“I was happy with my personal performance. I really hadn’t trained that much over the week,” Tatsuno said. “I was sick all week.”

On the floor, Yale broke a recent pattern and had six gymnasts compete. They were then able to drop their lowest score. Mak opened the competition with an 8.925. Yang received a 9.0. Sarah Hughes ’09 and Tatsuno both ended strongly with a 9.375 and 9.675, respectively. Kivisto placed second with a powerful 9.775 and Liao, as overall, dominated with a 9.825 and first place.

“The fact that we were able to finish strong shows that we can keep up the momentum throughout an entire meet,” Liao said.

Both Mak and Liao placed in the all-around competition, Mak third and Liao first.

The team travels to Rutgers next weekend for a tri-meet against Pittsburgh. Play starts at noon on Saturday.

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