At the NCAA Northeast Regional Gymnastics Championship Saturday, the names of two Yale gymnasts appeared alongside those of numerous full-scholarship athletes and Olympians on a stellar final-finshers list.
Against the finest gymnastics talent in the northeast, Kathryn Fong ’05 and Jamie Green ’04 represented Yale admirably, both finishing the afternoon in the all-around top fifteen. Fong seized ninth with 38.675 points in the individual competition, while Green finished 13th with 38.175 individual points.
Because both Eli gymnasts qualified as individuals, they tagged along with other full squads for each rotation.
“It was pretty competitive and tense the whole time,” Green said. “I wish the team had been there.”
Yet despite the intensity of the high-profile meet, Fong said she was not intimidated.
“I felt a little out of place at first, rotating with another team,” she said. “But it was a relaxing day; both coaches were there, telling us just to enjoy it, and because it was the last meet, I had nothing to lose.”
Saturday, Fong not only delivered a 9.750 floor full of tight flips and seemingly weightless landings but also stayed firmly on the often-troubling balance beam, along with introducing a new pike flip into her vault execution.
Green had the added challenge of competing alongside the University of Nebraska squad, which would eventually win the meet.
“I went right after their number-one gymnast. It was kind of intimidating, but exciting too,” Green said. “They all cheered me on and were very supportive.”
Green’s performance belied her jitters: despite some small mistakes on bars, she stayed on the equipment and received a 9.325 for her effort. She also hit a 9.650 on the floor exercise and, as usual for this year’s Ivy League vault champion, appeared in the upper reaches of the vault’s final standings with a 9.675.
It was Fong’s first trip to an NCAA Championship and Green’s second in two years. Although Green fell one place in the all-around standings from her 12th-place finish as a freshman, her score improved by nearly two-tenths of a point over her 38.000 finish at Regionals last year.
Green became this year’s top all-around ECAC gymnast Mar. 23, when she racked up 38.875 points over four events. Fong placed fifth at that same meet.
Fong said that she was pleased with her first performance at Regionals, and she was not dismayed that she will not compete at Nationals as a Yale freshman.
“Feasibly, if I had put in the most amazing meet of my life, and everyone else had messed up, I could have gone,” she said. “But I was just happy to stay on and hit all my routines for the first time this year at such an important meet.”