GYMNASTICS | Blue fourth in season-opener

The women’s gymnastics team improved on last year’s performances in its 2010 season-opener on Sunday at the New Hampshire Invitational, but it wasn’t enough to overcome three nationally ranked opponents.

Facing teams from New Hampshire, Ball State and Utah State, Yale finished fourth out of the four teams with a total score of 186.525 — which was higher than any single-meet result from last year.

“They did a really good job considering where we were at,” head coach Barbara Tony said of her team. “And they are only going to build on that.”

Although Stephanie Goldstein ’13 said the Bulldogs knew they would be facing top-ranked teams, all of which already had at least one competition under their belts this year, the Elis focused on their own performances, striving to improve their personal scores from last year and setting a good platform for this coming season, she said.

“We knew going into the meet that the teams were probably going to be posting some big scores,” Goldstein said. “But our captain reminded us that our performance had nothing to do with the other teams there, to focus first and foremost on ourselves.”

The Elis saw scores above 9.500 from many different team members in all four events on Sunday. The team began with high-scoring performances in the floor exercises, where captain Brigitte Kivisto ’10 led the team with a 9.600, and Goldstein and Talis Trevino ’12 both scored above 9.500. Kivisto finished ninth overall on the vault with another 9.600, while Tara Feld ’13 finished 11th with a score of 9.575.

“Our skills and difficulty were comparable to that of the other teams, but we lacked their consistency,” Kivisto said.

Lindsay Andsanger ’13 led the team on the uneven bars, the lowest-scoring event for the Bulldogs, with a score of 9.675. But it was on the balance beam where Yale scored its highest individual finish of the day, with Allison Mak ’10 tying for fourth with a score of 9.750.

Kivisto finished third overall in the meet with a total score of 37.700 over the four events. But the importance of the day for the senior captain went beyond her own success, as she was able to watch the youngest members of her team compete for the first time on the college level.

“The freshman girls did a great job at their first college meet, and it was really an honor to share that experience with them,” Kivisto said.

Three newcomers competed for the Bulldogs, as Goldstein and Feld competed in all four events, and Andsanger led the team on the uneven bars.

“I was pretty nervous to compete for Yale for the first time, especially as an all-arounder and because in college gymnastics, you’re competing for the team much more than yourself,” Goldstein said. “It was really exhilarating.”

Tonry added that she has been impressed with the attitudes of the freshmen, specifically praising their work ethics.

Trevino said the early competition against strong opponents will help the Elis later on in their season.

“Competing against such top-ranked teams definitely gave us [an] incentive to show off all our skills and give our best performance,” Trevina said. “But it was also good preparation for the rest of our season.”

As for the rest of the season, Tonry said she is confident her team will make progress.

“We know what we have to work on, we know how to get it done,” she said.

The Bulldogs will compete next weekend in a four-team meet against Iowa and Cornell and hosts Penn State.

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