The Yale gymnastics team came 1.5 points closer to perfection than at any other meet this season, but nevertheless finished second behind the University of Pennsylvania in the 28th annual Ivy Classic Sunday in Ithaca, N.Y. Defending champion Yale scored a 193.750 in their second-place effort, a season record and 1.5 points higher than the previous high mark, set two weeks ago against Rutgers.

The Bulldogs finished ahead of Brown and Cornell, the other two Ivy League gymnastics teams at the Classic, but lost to Penn 194.175-193.750. The winning score was a school record for Penn, which is having its most successful season in years.

The Elis set several season-high marks at the meet. Kathryn Fong ’05 tied for first on the uneven bars with a 9.925, and finished third all-around with an even 39. Both scores were season-highs for Yale. Eli captain Jamie Green ’04 also showed her stuff, finishing fourth all-around with 38.675.

Christine Lacy ’04 finished second on vault with a season-best 9.825, and Suchitra Paul ’07 tied her season high 9.9 in the floor exercise, finishing fifth in the event.

Paul said the repeat 9.9 was encouraging.

“I think I did one of my best routines of the season,” Paul said. “It felt good to know that I could do it again, and I just had a lot of fun doing that routine.”

Even after losing the title, the Elis still have some very important meets ahead of them. The ECAC Championships, where Yale will have a chance to exact their revenge on Penn, are only weeks away.

Green said her squad would be ready.

“We’re excited — we’ll get back in the gym and work hard and see [Penn] again in a few weeks,” Green said. “Today proved that we can beat Penn — we just need to clean up a few things. We’re excited to have another go at it.”

Leeron Avnery ’06 said the team put together a great performance in the Classic.

“While we were obviously disappointed, we didn’t lose the Ivy championships: we got second place,” Avnery said. “We competed well and we have no regrets. We did our best.”

The finish marked Yale’s second loss to Penn this season, but it was far closer than the 190.05-188.65 loss that the then injury-plagued Yale team suffered early in the season at the Palestra.

Paul said she thought Penn’s bigger team gave them greater depth and an advantage over the Bulldogs.

“They have a lot more gymnasts they can choose from, but other than that I think we put up a good fight,” Paul said.

More immediate subjects than the ECAC championships are also on the Bulldogs’ minds — they will be competing again just five days from today, traveling to Washington, D.C. for the Nations Capital Cup Invitational, and then to Raleigh, N.C. a week later to face UNC and the University of New Hampshire.

Paul said the team was excited about Spring Break.

“We’re looking to have fun these next few weeks,” Paul said. “It’ll be nice to get out of New Haven and travel.”

Green said the meets would be good preparation for the ECAC Championships and the rematch with Penn.

“They’re two big meets against good teams,” Green said. “They should be exciting and get us prepared for ECAC’s.”

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