Steve Musco

Coming off a short rest after its victory at the Ivy League Classic last Sunday, the gymnastics team traveled to No. 32 Maryland this Friday to take on the Terps and face Penn for the third time this season. The Bulldogs walked away as runners-up in the triple meet, scoring 192.900, their fourth-highest score of the year.

Friday’s meet at Maryland marked a regression in overall score for the team after five straight weeks of improvement that culminated in a school-record 195.025 at Ivies. Although the Elis were unable to prolong their unprecedented stretch, they did manage to top the Quakers, who scored 192.175, for the second week in a row. Maryland claimed first place with a score of 195.050.

“It was not one of our very best total efforts,” head coach Barbara Tonry said. “We only had Tuesday and Wednesday before having to travel on Thursday and compete on Friday. We were coming off a very emotional high at the Ivy Leagues, and I could see they were having a hard time getting up and motivated after the successful high they just experienced. … I feel without a meet until next Sunday, they will be able to settle and concentrate with this week’s practice. We have to find our energy level and get our momentum back.”

The Bulldogs did not let their lack of preparation time show in the floor exercise, their first routine of the night, and scored a 48.575. Emma Firmstone ’20 showcased her routine, landing a season-high 9.775, a score which her teammate Jacey Baldovino ’21 matched. Jade Buford ’21 and Kiarra Alleyne ’19 added a boost to with a pair of 9.700s.

On vault, Rebecca Chong ’20 earned the competition’s top score with a strong 9.800. Alyssa Firth ’21 and Buford were the next Bulldogs up to perform, and both of them hit 9.625s. Firth, Jacey Baldovino ’21 and Anna Jennings ’20 all performed yurchenko fulls as the team scored a 48.150 overall.

The Elis moved onto the uneven bars, which has been the team’s consistently best event throughout the entire season. Jessica Wang ’19 continued her dominance in the event, hitting a 9.850 as the highest Yale scorer and second overall. Buford was right behind Wang, scoring her season high by earning a 9.825. Baldovino contributed a 9.800, and Megan Ryan ’18 scored a 9.725, both assisting Yale in finishing the event with a 48.600, its highest event score of the day.

The Elis concluded the Maryland meet on the balance beam. Firmstone led the way for the Bulldogs, hitting a 9.700 as she finished up her all-around. Charlotte Cooperman ’21 scored a 9.600, one of many underclassmen to make a significant contribution, at this meet and throughout the season. Yale scored 47.575 in the event to end the meet.

“Since we’ve come to Yale, all of the upperclassmen have been so great at helping us [underclassmen] transition into college gymnastics and know what to expect when we get up to compete,” Cooperman said. “A huge part of our success so far this season is simply having confidence in our capabilities and knowing that everyone on the team is here to support one another.”

This was Yale’s first meet in-between the Ivy Classic and ECAC Championship, during which the Bulldogs will attempt to defend their title in three weeks.

The Elis will have a nine-day respite until their next meet at the University of New Hampshire, which will give them a chance to fit in much-needed rest and practice.

“The team’s priority over the next few weeks is to rest our bodies and make sure everyone is healthy and in good shape so that we can have another season-best performance at ECACs,” Alleyne said.

The Bulldogs won their past three meets prior to this runner-up finish.

Brian Yeo |