GYMNASTICS: clinches home opener

In Yale’s first gymnastics meet of the 2014 season, the Bulldogs took down Ancient Eight competitor Penn by a narrow 184.350 to 182.800 margin on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. in the John J. Lee Amphitheater in Payne Whitney Gym.

The Quakers traveled to New Haven for their second meet of the season after losing 190.400-187.900 to Illinois State. In the vault, beam, bars and floor events, the Elis scored 45.625, 46.775, 46.775 and 45.175, respectively. Seven Bulldogs set personal records in Saturday’s contest including captain Ashley O’Connor ’14 and senior Maren Hopkins ’14. Penn took the top four spots in the vault while the Elis dominated the bars, winning the top five places. Both teams had equal representation in the floor and beam final standings.

“Yesterday we were focusing on coming together as a team mentally, being aggressive, and also made sure to go into the meet with the complete desire to win,” O’Connor said. “Overall, I think we were successful because of the hard work we have been putting in at practice. We transferred that to the meet and everyone was confident.”

Brittney Sooksengdao ’16 finished best for the Elis on the floor, tying for second place with a score of 9.425, while Pennsylvania native and first-year Bulldog Anella Anderson ’17 finished fifth at 9.275 and Camilla Opperman ’16 tallied a score of 9.050 for a sixth place finish.

Penn’s Carissa Lim won the event with a score of 9.600

“We set out yesterday with a goal and that was to beat Penn,” Sooksengdao said. “We fought hard as a team yesterday and I’m so proud of the team for the motivation we showed to get it done.”

On the beam, Joyce Li ’15 clinched a first place finish with a score of 9.675, while Hopkins set a personal record on the beam with a score of 9.250.

Five of the six Bulldog competitors in the bars finished in the top-five spots for a combined score of 46.775 while just one Quaker, Makeda Constable, finished in the top half with a score of 8.975.

Morgan Traina ’15 stood out for the Elis, competing in all events and scoring a total of 36.900 points. Traina was last week’s ECAC Co-Gymnast of the week along with Brown’s Michelle Shnayder. Li was the only other Eli to compete in all four events and she finished right behind Traina with a cumulative score of 36.400.

“I was very happy with my performance on bars, but also our team’s overall performance on bars was very strong as well,” Traina said. “I think our team’s performance overall this week was much better, although that may not be reflected in the score.”

The Bulldogs will compete in their second consecutive home meet of the 2014 season when they host Bridgeport, Brown and SCSU in the John J. Lee Amphitheater next Saturday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m.

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