Yale seeks consistency in fourth place finish

philipparndt_gymnastics-2
Photo by Philip Arndt.

Coming off one of its best performances and a second-place finish at the Ivy Classic, the gymnastics team was looking to carry its momentum forward this past Friday in a quad meet against Western Michigan, Bridgeport and host Penn State. But while some gymnasts said Yale did well, they also admitted their performance was not quite on par with how they competed at the Ivy Classic.

The Bulldogs came in fourth with a score of 188.525, lower than their score of 190.250 at the Ivy Classic and not enough to surpass any of their opponents. Penn State won the meet with a score of 196.600. Morgan Traina ’15 had the highest overall score for the Elis and finished fifth in the individual all-around with 38.450 points.

“It was a solid meet,” Brittney Sooksengdao ’16 said.  “It wasn’t quite as great as Ivies, but it was really good.”

Sooksengdao said the team is working especially hard to improve its consistency. She said that the squad will continue to try to perform its routines at the same level in competition as it does in practice.

Captain Ashley O’Connor ’14 agreed, adding that consistency is the most difficult thing to achieve in gymnastics.

“It’s the nature of the sport,” she said. “We just need to get the whole team on the same brainwave.”

O’Connor attributed the team’s strong Ivies performance to “more confidence” and the team coming together perfectly. She said that such a strong performance the week before made this week’s quad-meet more difficult, but that the team has been working to prevent a major “dip” by practicing its routines more frequently.

O’Connor said practices are becoming more intense in preparation for the upcoming ECAC Championships on March 22 in Philadelphia.

The harder practices seem to be paying off at least for O’Connor, who on Friday achieved a career high score of 9.450 on the uneven parallel bars. She finished 20th in that event and attributes her accomplishment to her “training well and getting into perfect shape.”

Along with O’Connor’s personal best and Traina’s fifth place overall score, there were some other strong individual performances against a deep field. Camilla Opperman ’16 placed in the top 10 in the vault with a score of 9.700, good for ninth place.

Nicole Tay ’14 and Tatiana Winkelman ’17 tied for 17th on the balance beam with scores of 9.500, the second-best Elis on the apparatus behind Traina. Sooksengdao praised her teammate, Winkleman, for her performance.

“Tatiana did really well on beams,” she said. “It was only her second time competing beams for us, and she did great.”

The Bulldogs continue their season at Rutgers this Saturday to take on their hosts, as well as Central Michigan, SCSU and Temple.

Comments