GYMNASTICS: Bulldogs score high but fall short

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Photo by Maria Zepeda.

For the second straight home meet, the Yale gymnastics squad improved its score — this time earning a season high of 188.700 points — but fell to the competition.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, the Yale gymnastics team hosted New Hampshire and fell to the Wildcats 195.400–188.700. Last weekend’s meet was both the Bulldogs’ final home meet of the season and Senior Day. While the Elis struggled on the beam and in floor exercises, they performed well as a group on the vault, and Morgan Traina ’15 finished first overall on the bars.

“The vault rotation this weekend stood out as our biggest improvement with this meet,” Brittney Sooksengdao ’16 said. “We hit some big, clean vaults and hit some of the bigger scores we want. Scores are getting higher across the board. We have all the potential and capability to hit higher team scores in the 191’s and higher; it’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together consistently.”

New Hampshire finished in the top six spots on the vault, while the Bulldogs claimed places seven through 10, with a tie for 11th between Katherine Lucas ’15 and Anella Anderson ’17 at a score of 9.475. Camilla Opperman ’16 topped the Bulldogs’ results on the vault with a personal best of 9.675.

On the bars, Traina led the Bulldogs and helped secured a second-place finish in the all-around by tying for first on the bars with a score of 9.775. Joyce Li ’15 was the next-closest Eli to Traina on the bars and finished in a three-way tie for fourth with a score of 9.675. After Traina and Li’s bars performances, the Bulldogs took the bottom four places on the bars.

“Personally, I made some improvements as well, and one of those was on bars,” Traina said. “I spent extra time working on bars last week, and it definitely helped improve my performance in the meet. I’m hoping to continue the same type of performance and positivity into the upcoming meets.”

Opperman competed in just one other event on Saturday, the floor, and set another personal record with a score of 9.725, earning her a sixth-place finish in the event. Just one Wildcat, Jannelle Minichiello, finished in between Opperman and the rest of the Bulldogs. After Minichiello, Lucas completed the floor event with a score of 9.425 while Tay Tabitha ’14, Anderson, Traina and Sooksengdao finished with scores of 9.400, 9.300, 9.275 and 8.700, respectively.

In the fourth event, the beam, Sooksengdao finished fifth with a tally of 9.725, while the remaining five Elis finished in the bottom five spots.

“We still need to improve our consistency on beam and that just comes from doing high numbers of routines in practice and the transferring that confidence to the meets,” said team captain Ashley O’Connor ’14. “Overall the team had a great performance because we had our high score this season and we have been continually making improvements in each meet. We need to keep doing that and end up peaking at Ivies.”

The Elis will head to Maryland next weekend to begin a string of six consecutive away meets before the ECAC championships in late March.

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