In its final contest before Saturday’s Ivy League Championships, Yale’s gymnastics team was edged by regional foe University of Massachusetts 190.675-188.775. Entering the meet, Massachusetts was ranked sixth regionally and the Bulldogs were ranked seventh. With the second-place result, Yale is now 5-2 (1-0 Ivy) on the year.
The University of Alaska and MIT placed third and fourth, respectively, in the quad-meet in Amherst, Mass.
The gruelling day of competition — only two teams competed at a time instead of all four, causing the meet to last twice as long — hit the Bulldogs especially hard.
In the third event of the day, Shanna Engel ’03 suffered a knee injury during her floor routine. She will likely miss the rest of the season. After Engel was carried off the floor, the noticeably shaken Elis attempted to regroup before their balance beam rotation.
“As a competitor, there are always things you have to deal with,” Fateema Turay ’03 said. “But it was evident everyone was upset.”
At that critical juncture, the Bulldogs were dealing with an extremely close match, trailing Massachusetts by a mere .025.
With Trista Miller ’04 filling Engel’s spot in the beam rotation, Yale attempted to make the best of a difficult situation.
“I was more motivated [entering the beam],” captain Lisa Crowley ’01 said. “But it was a little hard to stay focused because we knew that [Engel’s injury] was serious.”
Crowley’s performance steadied an otherwise shaky balance beam rotation. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, this effort did not yield enough points to overcome the Minutewomen.
“We counted quite a few falls on beam,” Crowley said. “But considering what had just happened on the floor, I think it was a solid effort.”
Despite the day’s turn for the worse in the third rotation, the Elis showed some signs of renewed life after a subpar outing at Springfield last weekend.
On the whole, the squad appears to be on the mend from various nagging injuries. Yale also benefited from the return of Lauren Stephens ’04, who had not participated in the team’s previous two events.
The Bulldogs improved on their bar and vault rotations from a week earlier, but their first three floor routines stood out. Jen Gold ’03 led off with a 9.600, Waverly Dolaman ’04 gained a 9.575 and freshman Jamie Green’s effort garnered a remarkable 9.700.
“Jamie’s floor routine was definitely her best of the season,” Engel said.
Green wound up being Yale’s top performer of the day with a 38.025. Andrea Wolf ’03 was next, posting a 37.875 in the all-around.
Despite the tragic loss of a key performer, the Bulldogs’ success still affords them some confidence as they host the Ivy Championships this weekend.
“Because of our depth we can fill spots,” Crowley said. “But Shanna is one of our strongest competitors. She anchors most of our rotations.”
The highlight of the event will be the anticipated rematch between Yale and the University of Pennsylvania. The Quakers have also been on the mend from injuries and will be even tougher the second time around. The Elis won the day the first time they met Jan. 27, 190.450-186.625.