The gymnastics team found itself outshone on the vault and balance beam on Saturday, finishing third out of four teams at Ithaca College.
The Bulldogs scored 179.500, placing five points behind the host school and Brockport, which were engaged in a battle for the top spot all afternoon. In the end the Ithaca eked out the victory by six-tenths of a point. Brockport, last season’s ECAC Division III champions, finished in second with 184.150 points. All three schools had a comfortable margin of at least 20 points separating them from Rhode Island College, which ended the day at 155.575.
The entire competition was a battle between the two Division III schools for top spots, especially in the balance beam and vault categories, Yale’s two weakest events.
“To get higher scores on beam we … only need to stay on,” said Tara Feld ’13, who had the highest score in the event for the Bulldogs at 9.300, tied for sixth overall.
One area the Elis did not need higher scores in was the floor exercise, where Feld, Talis Trevino ’12 and Stephanie Goldstein ’13 continued their domination from last week’s meet at Springfield The trio took 1st, 3rd and 5th, with scores of 9.725, 9.625 and 9.600 respectively.
Despite the fact that Brockport has won its division three of the last four years, this was the first time in the program’s 35-year history that the Golden Eagles have ever defeated a Division I school.
But the real surprise came from Ithaca College’s performance in its season debut, as last year’s fifth-place finisher in the ECAC Division III pulled a close six-tenths of a point victory away from the defending champion Golden Eagles.
In comparison to Brockport and Ithaca, which have 22 and 19 members on their rosters, respectively, the Bulldogs — who have 11 — were outnumbered. The number of active Yale gymnasts, however, is even smaller, as two members are recovering from injuries and one, Monica Shoji ’12, will be out for the rest of the season. This left only eight to compete at Ithaca on Saturday.
“We are not able to specialize on events,” Sherry Yang ’11 said of the small roster size.
Many on the team do not feel this relative lack of numbers is a weakness, or indeed matters at all. Lone uneven bars specialist Lindsay Andsager ’13 even called it an advantage.
“The small team size creates more cohesiveness among the girls [which leads to better performances] because you know the whole team is cheering for you and behind you 100 percent,” she said. “[It evokes a team spirit we call] ‘small but mighty.’”
Andsager took first on the bars at Ithaca with a score of 9.525.
The Bulldogs will have an extra week to prepare for their next meet at Penn on Jan. 29, which will kick off the Ivy League season. They hope to have Ashley Hopkins ’14 and Mia Yabut ’12 recovered in time for the competition.