What’s the point of winning when you can lose like the Yale gymnastics team?

By mere fractions of a point, Yale fell short of victory in its meet against the University of Rhode Island this Saturday in New Haven. The final score, announced as the meet closed, was URI 193.350, Yale 193.075.

“‘Heartbreaking’ is a good word to describe it,” Shoshanna Engel ’03 said, who had just turned in her best routine of the year on the uneven bars when she heard the announcement that Yale had lost by a difference of less than a point.

Engel and teammate Kathryn Fong ’05 each earned a 9.850 for their artistry on the bars. Yale’s Jamie Green ’04 topped the all-around results that reflect a gymnast’s combined scores from all four events with a 39.175 out 40 possible points. Four of the top five all-around gymnasts in the meet were Yalies.

But even though Yale’s women gave beautiful performances in the air, between the bars, and over the beam, vault and mat, it proved to be the little things that stuck the Bulldogs with their second loss of the season.

“We have to eliminate some of our little mistakes,” Christine Lacy ’05 said. “Taking away any one of them would have made the difference between winning and losing this meet.”

Lacy contributed a 9.750 score on the floor exercise to Yale’s high score, and said she is optimistic about Yale’s chances against URI when the two teams meet again this weekend in Rhode Island.

“From missteps on landings to going out of bounds on the floor exercise, once we fix those things we should be good to go,” she said.

Engel concurred that the meet’s result was essentially determined by “little mistakes, really small stuff.”

“Our team total broke our previous records, but we just had trouble putting the meet together,” Fong concluded.

Thankfully for Yale, only scores and not win-loss tallies matter in determining qualification for big events like the NCAA Championships. Nevertheless, URI will continue to be one of Yale’s biggest competitors.

“Our goal is to win ECACs. And we’re shooting to win Ivies again,” Lacy said.

Last year, Yale won the Ivy crown but came up second against the College of William and Mary at the ECACs. But this year the Bulldogs have a real chance to grab both honors with a new squad that is both very young and excellent under pressure.

“Everyone stepped it up on the floor exercise [the meet’s final event],” said Fong, who pulled off a neat 9.900 on the floor to the ringing push of Spanish guitar music. Green also contributed to Yale’s final effort with an amazing 9.925 on the floor.

This meet was Yale’s last at home this season. Before the meet, seniors Sumitra Paul and Caroline Pignatelli — who is also the team’s captain — were honored for their contributions to the lasting success of Yale gymnastics.

Green said that after the meet she signed programs for at least 100 Girl Scouts who had cheered the Bulldogs on from the seats of the John J. Lee Amphitheater. The team’s tradition of excellence is so strong that there is even a designated blank space inside of their elegant program for “Gymnastics Autographs.”

“Now we’ll have to show all the teams that give scholarships that they should take us seriously,” Fong said.