The Yale gymnastics team leapt into the record books during a meet on Thursday, nabbing the fifth-highest score in Bulldog history just a week before the beginning of the postseason.
The 193.700, which Yale scored in Bridgeport on Thursday following a season-high achieved in Maryland last weekend, is the highest score Yale has received in 12 years, edging out a 193.475 scored in 2013 for fifth highest score in the team’s history. Yale trailed meet winner Bridgeport by more than a point, but multiple individual gymnasts posted career-bests and helped Yale inch closer to qualifying for the USAG National Collegiate Championships.
“Every meet this season we have performed better and better,” Anella Anderson ’17 said. “Our consistency along with our precision and difficulty have been on a rise and we finally pulled everything together … We received the scores we deserved and put up some of our best routines of the season.”
Starting the day on uneven parallel bars, the Bulldogs achieved a 48.700, which was not only a season high, but the best score posted by the program since 2003. Jessica Wang ’19 scored a career-high 9.850, which put her in first for the event overall. Tatiana Winkelman ’17 followed up with a 9.775, tying her for fifth, while Roxanne Trachtenberg ’19 landed a career-high 9.650. Allison Bushman ’18 tied for seventh with a 9.750, which was especially impressive given she was unable to practice dismounts the past week, Winkelman said, but landed a “gorgeous” dismount during the meet.
The Bulldogs then rotated to vault, where they put up a 48.150, another season high, which Winkelman called “explosive” due to every gymnast scoring above a 9.500. Opperman’s 9.700 put her in third for the day as well as tying her career high. Trachtenberg tied her career high and landed fifth with a 9.650, while Kiarra Alleyne ’19 and Wang both posted new career highs of 9.600 and 9.550 respectively.
Though Yale again competed on floor without a sixth competitor, putting pressure on each gymnast’s score to count towards the cumulative, every competitor posted a 9.500 or higher, giving Yale a 48.400. Opperman tied for third with a 9.800, and Alleyne landed in a tie for fifth with a 9.775. Anderson produced a season-high 9.675.
“The floor lineup knew that every score counted, but didn’t let that faze them,” Winkelman said. “Floor tumbling is especially hard on your body, and they all pushed through to give strong tumbling, clean landings, and a great performance.”
Yale’s 48.450 beam score was led by Winkelman, whose 9.850 not only landed her a career high and first place at the meet, but a spot in the record books, tying her for second place in Yale’s overall best scores in the event. Anderson placed second in the event at the meet with a career-high 9.825, while both Wang and Trachtenberg nabbed career highs and tied for fourth with a pair of 9.775 scores.
Though falls from Megan Ryan ’18 and Brittney Sooksengdao ’16 meant Yale counted a 9.225 in its cumulative score, Winkelman said that the team’s focus despite the mentally grueling event coming last in its day and confidence with a recent change in lineup were both impressive. Trachtenberg added that the counted fall means there is still opportunity to improve throughout the rest of the season.
Anderson and Ryan were Yale’s all-around competitors, Ryan placing second in the event with a 38.150 and Anderson following up with a third-place 37.425. First in all-around went to Bridgeport’s Kelsey Campbell, who posted a 38.825.
“The freshmen were so impressive in their ability to remain focused and calm, the upperclassmen exhibited the confidence and leadership needed for success, and those who are injured and unable to compete provided the energy and encouragement we needed to hit our routines,” Opperman said. “In all, it was so amazing to have such an amazing night, and even more exciting to know we can do better on Sunday at GW and next week at ECACs.”
Although at this point in the season competition has taken a toll on gymnasts’ bodies, Winkelman said, the team has a strong mentality going into the ECAC Championships at William & Mary on March 19. Anderson added that there were small mistakes on each event that can be perfected in order to achieve even higher results.
The Bulldogs face George Washington University next Sunday in their last meet before the ECAC Championships.