GYMNASTICS | Sooksengdao ’16 takes beam title

The Elis had no falls counted in their overall score for one of the first times this year in their last competition as a team.
The Elis had no falls counted in their overall score for one of the first times this year in their last competition as a team. Photo by Kathryn Crandall.

While most Yale students spent spring break relaxing with friends and family, the gymnastics team remained hard at work preparing for its biggest competition of the year, hoping to win its first season meet and upset the field at Saturday’s ECAC championships.

Facing off against five other schools at the meet held in Ithaca, N.Y., the Bulldogs were unable to capture the league title on Saturday. The team finished fifth among the six teams competing with a score of 192.100, its second-best score of the season. The Elis finished in front of Brown, this year’s Ivy League champion, which placed last with a tally of 191.500 points. Penn recorded 193.725 points to win its second ECAC title in as many years.

“I think we were maybe expecting to face a little higher,” team captain Stephanie Goldstein ’13 said. “But to be completely honest, that’s the highest finish we’ve had in my four years here.”

While the team may have had higher hopes for the meet, the Elis put forth a day full of solid routines. According to Goldstein, no falls were counted in the overall score for one of the first times this year. Furthermore, the team just barely missed out on fourth place, trailing Temple by just .075 points.

“Overall, the team put forth some really good routines at the meet,” Goldstein said. “I really couldn’t have asked any more of my teammates than to do that when we came to championships.”

Although Yale could not triumph as a team, several Eli gymnasts impressed at the meet. Brittney Sooksengdao’s ’16 was particularly noteworthy, as the freshman took the ECAC title in the balance beam with a score of 9.850.

Goldstein characterized Sooksengdao’s routine as “amazing,” adding that the freshman had worked on the advanced sequence all year.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting to come away with an ECAC title,” Sooksengdao said.

The Bulldogs recorded top-five finishes in every event of the day. Tara Feld ’13 placed third in the vault, .225 points off of first place, and the senior also tied for fourth in the floor exercise with a score of 9.800. Feld was the highest-place finisher for the Elis in the individual all-around, nabbing fifth place with an overall score of 38.400.

Another strong Bulldog performance came in the uneven bars. Joyce Li ’15 took fifth place with a score of 9.750. Li also finished seventh in the individual all-around.

“I thought [the meet] went really well,” Sooksengdao said. “We all came away from the meet with no regrets.”

Although the ECAC championship meet was the last time that the Eli gymnasts will compete as a team this season, several Yale athletes have qualified for further meets this year. As an alternate to attend NCAA Regionals on April 6, Li will compete in the meet if one of five other athletes is unable to perform. Additionally, a number of Eli athletes have qualified for the USAG National Collegiate meet the following weekend, which will be held in Shreveport, La.

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