For Yale gymnastics, struggles continued this weekend as the team traveled to Pittsburgh.
The team placed third at Saturday’s tri-meet against Rutgers and the University of Pittsburgh, two scholarship schools with deeper fields than Yale’s. The Elis earned 183.975 points against first-place Pittsburgh’s 192.85.
“Overall, we saw improvements in some areas,” captain Alina Liao ’09 said. “It was OK — still shaky here and there on beam and bars and in terms of falls. We’ll just keep working on our consistency so we can take it to the next level.”
The gymnasts have suffered from multiple pre-season injuries, which have limited the team’s ability to send six competitors to fill the line-up of each event. At this tournament, they competed against teams that were twice as large as the Elis’ team.
Beginning on beam, the women followed a trend of recent weeks and experienced several falls. Overall, Lauren Tatsuno ’09 placed second in the individual competition with a 9.725 and Liao came in fifth with a 9.7. Brigitte Kivisto ’10 earned a solid 9.575, and Allison Mak ’10 and Sherry Yang ’11 rounded out Yale’s five routines.
On floor, recently one of the Elis’ best events, the team earned some of its highest scores of the season. Liao closed the competition with a 9.8, which put her in second place, and teammates Kivisto and Tatsuno scored a 9.575 and 9.65, respectively. Sarah Hughes ’09 had a career best routine of a 9.5 after she landed her double back tumbling pass. Mak and Yang completed the six.
Floor is the only event in which the Elis post six gymnasts, allowing them to drop their lowest score when the team’s total is calculated. (Due to many injuries on the team, none of the other events’ rosters can be filled.)
On the vault, Tatsuno led the Bulldogs with a layout Yurchenko that earned her a 9.625 and seventh place. Mak and Liao followed with a 9.475 and 9.425, respectively. Micaline Tomeo ’09 and Yang rounded out the Eli squad.
Bars continue to be a learning experience for the Bulldogs. Yale counted three falls on the event, and low start values contributed to overall lower scores on the event.
“I think we’ll just keep upgrading the consistency and difficulty,” Margaret Greenberg ’12 said. “We don’t have a lot of girls to work with, but everyone is trying hard. Hopefully we’ll have a complete bar lineup soon.”
Mak, recovering from an injury suffered last week, earned a 9.175, while Liao placed fourth with a 9.6. Hughes, Greenberg and Claude DeJocas ’12 rounded out the event with scores in the low eights.
“Allison got through the competition and didn’t complain or anything,” Yang said of her teammate. “She kept a smiling face through the entire meet.”
Liao placed second in the all-around with a 38.525, trailing Alicia Talucci of Pittsburgh, who won the competition with a 38.65. Yale’s Mak placed fifth with a 36.875.
“Overall it was not exactly a good meet for us,” Yang said. “We are capable of scoring 186 to 190. Our coach just said to keep confidence up.”
Liao added, “We didn’t have our best overall score, but if you look at our scores without falls, we would have been up there with Rutgers.”
With only three weeks left until the Ivy Classic, the Elis will continue building their routines and trying to add more of their injured teammates to the active lineup.
The Bulldogs compete on Saturday at the Fox Run Invitational against host University of New Hampshire, Air Force and the University of Bridgeport. Competition starts at 7 p.m.