GYMNASTICS: Elis place fourth at home

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Photo by Maria Zepeda.

The gymnastics team is improving with each meet, but a bump in its cumulative score this weekend was not enough to give the squad the edge over three local competitors.

Last Saturday, the Elis gymnastics program hosted Southern Connecticut State (SCSU), Brown and Bridgeport at the Bulldog Invitational in the John J. Lee Amphitheater at Payne Whitney Gymnasium. After competing on the vault, bars, beam and floor, the Bulldogs ended up on the bottom of the pile with a score of 187.125 while Bridgeport finished on top with a final score of 192.275. Brown just barely took second place beneath Bridgeport with a cumulative score of 191.075 and SCSU took third with 188.650 total points.

Yale performed most consistently as a team on the vault, although individuals placed higher in other events. But the Elis suffered more sporadic performances on the beam, bars and floor.

“I think the team did well on vault this weekend. We were up against some really good teams and had to count falls on bars and beam, which is always difficult,” Maren Hopkins ’14 said. “But, I think we did well in general. We know where we lost points and we’ll be working hard to fix those for next weekend.”

On the vault, the Bulldogs scored together in a clump, coming in at positions 16 through 23, save 18th place.

Brittney Sooksengdao ’16 and Morgan Traina ’15 each recorded scores of 9.725 on the beam, tying for third place in the event. Captain Ashley O’Conner ’14 cleared a score of 9.650, securing herself a tie for sixth place. After Joyce Li’s ’15 10th place finish with a score of 9.500, the next two Elis placed at the bottom of the heap in 22nd and 24th.

While Yale found itself in fourth place at the Bulldog Invitational, the Elis were able to improve upon their overall team score from the previous week’s winning score of 184.350 over Penn.

“On one hand, we wanted to beat Southern and Brown and fell short, so that was disappointing,” O’Connor said. “But on the other hand, we made a lot of improvements. For example, we improved our team score tremendously from the last meet, so that was positive and exciting.”

When all competitors had completed all four events, Yale was able to name two athletes to the top eight of the meet in the all-around, with Traina earning a cumulative score of 37.275 and Li a tally of 35.000, good for sixth and eighth place respectively.

As the Bulldogs look ahead, they are aiming to focus on their individual routines as a way of steadily adding more and more points to the cumulative score.

According to Sooksengdao, consistent effort is needed to push the Bulldogs to the level they must reach to achieve their goal.

“The team is improving every meet,” Sooksengdao said. “We are hitting more and more cleaner and consistent routines and getting better scores. We just have to keep it up and keep pushing to get even more consistent and hit those higher scores we’re looking to hit.”

Yale will compete in its last home meet of the season on Saturday, Feb. 8 against New Hampshire in the John J. Lee Amphitheater before it hits the road for the remaining seven consecutive meets of the season prior to NCAA regionals and the USAG Collegiate nationals.

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