Coming off a successful home competition the previous weekend, the Yale gymnastics team hit the road on Sunday — though just for a few minutes — for a meet against Brown, Bridgeport and Southern Connecticut State at SCSU’s campus in New Haven.
With an overall score of 191.300, their third best total this season, the Bulldogs finished third out of four teams. Bridgeport took home first with a 194.125, while Brown sat in second at 192.750 and SCSU placed fourth, scoring a 189.075. The meet marked the first time this season that Yale took on Brown, which it will again face at the Ivy Classic next weekend.
“The team had a really awesome meet,” captain Camilla Opperman ’16 said. “We built off of our performances from last week and really came out with a bang. People really stepped up their game, cleaned up their form and made their landings crisper.”
The Bulldogs started on bars, where they had the strongest performance of the season, besting last week’s score of 48.200 with a 48.575. The performance, which featured all five scorers for the Bulldogs posting scores within just 0.1 of each other, put Yale in second on bars overall for the day, 0.025 points behind Bridgeport but beating both SCSU and Brown.
Tatiana Winkelman ’17 and Jessica Wang ’19 led the Elis on the apparatus with a pair of 9.750 scores, while Megan Ryan ’18 posted a career-best at 9.725. Allison Bushman ’18 and Anella Anderson ’17 rounded out Yale’s total with scores of 9.700 and 9.650, respectively, putting Yale less than a point out of first place after the first rotation.
“This entire year Bulldogs have been doing amazing on bars,” Anderson said. “This meet we went in and broke the season record for our bar score. It was an awesome bar rotation for everyone — everyone did exactly what they meant to do and did it really perfectly.”
The team followed up their bar performance with beam, where they again placed second to Bridgeport with a 47.775. Winkelman, who also led bars, gave Yale its high score of 9.675, making her fifth individually in that event during the meet. Of the other four Yale gymnasts whose scores counted on beam, all put up marks of 9.400 or better. Roxanne Trachtenberg ’19, who scored the second-highest Eli score with a 9.625, praised the team’s performance, but said the team could improve by cutting down on balance checks and other small errors before Ivies next week.
In the floor rotation, Yale placed third with a 47.925, behind Brown’s 48.475 and Bridgeport’s 48.600. Opperman, the meet winner on floor in last week’s home competition, was the top Bulldog with a 9.775, tying for third in floor overall with Brown’s Caroline Morant.
Opperman also led the way for Yale on vault with a score of 9.650. Prior to the final rotation, the Bulldogs trailed Brown by just 0.1 overall, but an Eli total of 47.025, which was third overall in the meet, increased the deficit to 1.450 as Brown posted a 48.375 on bars.
Ryan and Anderson both competed in the all-around, meaning each gymnast participated in all four events. Ryan came in third out of six all-around competitors in the meet, scoring a 9.600 or higher in all but one event and ending the day with a cumulative 38.475. Anderson placed fifth with a 37.675.
“Overall it was really great to have a good meet right before Ivies, so I can go into Ivies a little more confident,” Ryan said “[I] really can be confident in contributing to the team. That’s my goal, in every meet, is how much I can contribute to the team.”
A highlight of the day for the Bulldogs was going “20 for 20,” Anderson said. While 24 gymnasts compete in the meet, only 20 scores are counted, which gives teams an opportunity to drop their lowest scores in each event, which may have been lowered due to falls. Because there was only one fall for Yale on the entire day, no falls were counted in its final score.
Teammates interviewed praised the consistency of the team’s performance throughout the day and its improvement over the course of the season. Though the scores came out lower than they might have anticipated, Opperman said this is in part due to the “subjectivity of the sport.”
“The team went into the meet with the main goal of building our confidence for Ivies next weekend, and we completely did that,” Anderson said. “Although we weren’t scored as high as we were hoping, we all were able to do exactly what we wanted to do. We were able to hit all of the events consistently, which was the first time we did that this season. It will be easier going into Ivies knowing we can hit all the events and hit them all well.”
The Ivy Classic, an annual competition between Yale, Brown, Cornell and Penn, will begin at Cornell on Feb. 28.