Yale gymnasts avenged their early season loss to Ithaca this past Sunday with a perfect team effort on the balance beam. But in the end, though, the Bulldogs finished second to Rutgers at the tri-meet competition Sunday, Yale’s first home meet of the season.
Not one gymnast fell on the balance beam, as five of the six performers saw either a season or career high, with Stephanie Goldstein ’13 taking first with a career-best 9.675 out of 10, and Tara Feld ’13 tying for third with a season high of 9.500. Falls had previously hurt the Elis’ scores on the beam for their first several matches, so the players said they had changed how they were practicing. Uneven bars specialist Lindsay Andsager ’13 said that the gymnasts’ assignments are now not only to make their routines, but to perform them consecutively.
“We need to perform three routines in a row, and we need to connect on every skill,” captain Sherry Yang ’11 said. “It makes us focus on every detail.”
Goldstein’s performance, which earned her a third place all-around finish, wasn’t confined to the beam. She also posted a career-best score on the floor exercise as well, notching 9.675 points to tie for sixth with teammate Feld. Overall, it was a category dominated by the Scarlet Knights. They were led by Colombian freshman Luisa Maria Leal-Restrepo, who won every category but the balance beam and took first on the all-around.
Goldstein acknowledged that Rutgers performed well on their floor routines, adding that high-scoring performances require both high-level tumbling and an ability to wow the judges.
“If you look like you’re having fun in your floor routine, the judges will have fun watching it … this usually translates into a good score,” she said.
But the team said it focused on its own performances, and not on those of Rutgers.
“Each team has its own set of special skills, and maximizing your own abilities should be your focus,” Yang said. She mentioned that Rutgers is a top-tier program, with 25 gymnasts on the team. “I’m not making an excuse, we came into the meet looking to give them a run for their money,” Yang said.
The freshmen showed great improvement in the meet, as Nicole Tay ’14, Tabitha Tay ’14 and Maren Hopkins ’14 took part of that perfect balance beam performance. Both Nicole and Tabitha set career highs, 9.400 and 9.425 respectively, while Hopkins came within 0.025 of her own personal mark set at Penn. When taken as a whole, the trio’s average score per event has risen each week, following the upward trend of the team. This last week saw the greatest jump, from an average score of 8.563 to 8.960.
“We’ve been getting more accustomed to the college meets,” Nicole said.
This Saturday is the alumni meet — the Bulldog Invitational — when Yale will face Springfield and Brockport for the second time this season, in addition to hosting Temple. It will be one of several Pink Zone events for Yale Bulldogs against breast cancer that day. The Bulldogs face off at 1:00 pm in the John J. Lee Amphitheater.