At Brown on Sunday, it was deja vu for the women’s gymnastics team, just not necessarily a memory that the team wanted to experience again.After a disappointing Ivy Classic on February 28 in Providence, R.I., the Bulldogs were faced with the same obstacle for the second time — beginning their meet with the balance beam, considered the toughest rotation.
But it was night and day for the Elis this weekend, as they excelled on the beam. Their momentum carried through and at the end of the meet the Bulldogs took first place victory with 189.225 points. They were followed by Brown with 188.075 points, URI with 187.425 points and Southern Connecticut finished in last place with 183.525.
Freshmen Alina Liao ’09 and Kimberley So ’09 were major contributors to Yale’s strong performance, earning a 37.725 and 37.550, respectively. In addition, Liao won the uneven bars with a 9.675. Miki Seltzer ’07 earned Yale’s highest score on the vault with a 9.700 and on the floor exercise with a 9.775.
Prior to this weekend’s meet, the Bulldogs were coming off a win against URI and Temple in Kingston, R.I. on March 3, with a score of 188.800, and a third place finish in a tough meet against Towson and Rutgers in Towson, Md. with 188.000 points.
Team members said they were proud of their performances this weekend, especially in light of their substandard Ivy Classic.
“We wanted to prove that we were talented as our other scores had proven earlier in the season,” captain Anne McPherson ’06 said.
The Bulldogs’ overall team score, their third highest this year, also allows the team to stay ahead of Cornell in the ECAC standings. This is important because the Elis will be able to pick their rotational order before the Big Red at next weekend’s ECAC Championships.
Despite their success, the Elis struggled on the uneven bars, where they had three falls and had to count two scores under 9.0. But Seltzer said she was confident that her team can improve their performance for next weekend.
“Those weren’t typical errors that we make,” she said.
The ECAC championships in Kingston, R.I., will pit Yale against eight other teams, including Penn, William and Mary and Towson. Unlike in other meets, where squads warm-up all events first and then compete in each event, the format is different because of the large number of teams. This weekend, the competitors will warm up for an event and go straight into competing. Seltzer said the difference may be beneficial to the team.
“Normally, we warm up everything and you get a little cold. You kind of sit around for a half-an-hour waiting for your event to come,” Seltzer said. “This will make us a lot more comfortable and is how we do it in practice.”
McPherson said maintaining stamina after a strenuous season may be the determining factor for the championships.
“By now we can all do our routines, we should do them to the best of our ability,” she said. “It’s just a matter of having the energy level and drive.”
Team members said the competition will be tough this weekend, but they are hopeful for a positive result.
“We definitely have the potential to get second,” Lauren Tatsuno ’09 said. “All the teams are really close right now in how they’re doing.”