The Yale gymnasts ended their home campaign with a dramatic win this past Saturday against Southern Connecticut State University.
Captain Sherry Yang ’11 broke two personal records in her final meet at Yale. The Bulldogs notched their highest total of the season by earning 187.450 points to the Owls’ 185.850.
With Tara Feld ’13 still out with an injured abdomen, the Bulldogs were missing a gymnast with a 10-point starting value on vault, their first apparatus of the day. Yang led the team on vault with a second-place score of 9.550. At the same time, SCSU’s costly falls on the uneven bars put them down by almost two and half points. Visiting fans were overheard expressing their distress, as repeated stalls and drops dampened the energy inside the gym.
The Owls did not disappear, however, and posted high scores on the vault and floor to come within only four-tenths of a point by the start of the final event.
“I don’t think the team realized how close the competition was — personally, I had no idea how close SCSU was to us until the end of the meet,” Stephanie Goldstein ’13 said.
Goldstein scored a career-best 9.700, tying for first place with teammate Talis Trevino ’12 and moving just ahead of Yang’s 9.675. They swept the top three spots of the floor exercise and secured the win.
The Owls stumbled in their final event, the balance beam, distinguishing Yale’s own perfect six-for-six performance.
“The judges weren’t giving us credit for a few things — different connections we thought we had — but it’s subjective,” head coach Barbara Tonry said. “They all stayed on, which was perfect.”
This was the second time this season that every Eli has stayed on the beam.
Tonry was also positive about the development of her two freshmen all-rounders, Tabitha Tay ’14 and Maren Hopkins ’14, who were both thrust into a unique position by the small team size and the injuries. Tonry noted the excitement Hopkins had when she saw the results of her hard work pay off Saturday, as she averaged above a nine for each category. Fellow all-round Goldstein also noticed improvement among the freshmen.
“Maren and Tabbi have really stepped up for the team these past few meets and done a great job of handling the pressure and endurance that competing all-around entails,” she said.
All three set career records in the all-around, with Goldstein leading the competition with a first-place 38.075.
Yang, Yale’s lone senior, celebrated her senior day with the best performance of her career, setting career records on the vault and the floor. She thanked her teammates and coaches for their unwavering support, and also mentioned her surprise at just how many people came out to support her and the team.
“During the senior meet, it hit me that it’s going to be over soon,” Yang said. “I’ve been doing this since I was four years old.”
With this important win under their belts, the team can finally look forward to the Ivy League Classic, where they will be competing against Penn, Brown and Cornell. Feld is not cleared for the competition due to risk of further injury, but the coaches are considering bringing Nicole Tay ’14 back to the floor, with possibly modified tumbles to accommodate her ankle. Tonry even mentioned the possibility of Mia Yabut ’12 making her season debut sometime in the coming weeks.
Once at Penn, the team hopes to bring the energy it hasreceived from their last three home meets, and continue their string of increased scores that has seen them improve more than 10 points since their season debut.
“We’re considered the underdog, but we’re going to be surprising a lot of people,” Yang said.
The competition will take place this Sunday at 1:00 p.m.