Yale Athletics

The Yale gymnastics team earned a second-place finish on Monday out of five teams competing at the Terrapin Invitational, hosted at the University of Maryland.

The Bulldogs posted a score of 194.375 to narrowly finish ahead of Temple (194.100) – as well as William & Mary (193.900) and UPenn (193.275) – but fell short to a Maryland side that posted an outstanding score of 196.975 on home territory.

After recording four victories in its first five meets of the season, the Elis have now gone three meets without a victory after finishing second at the Ivy Classic last weekend and third at Pittsburgh two weeks ago. However, head coach Barbara Tonry can be optimistic that her squad will soon get back to its winning ways, as there were many individual performances of quality at Maryland that showed Yale has what it takes to challenge for another ECAC title.

“We were able to walk away from this meet with a renewed sense of confidence,” captain Emma Firmstone ’20 said. ”We were disappointed with our result at the Ivy Classic last weekend, but this meet proved that we can come out on top when we compete against the other teams in our conference. We know that we still have areas that we can improve on, but overall it was a very successful meet for us. There were some late lineup changes this week, which can sometimes be an adjustment, but everyone handled the pressure really well.”

Yale began its day on the uneven bars and got off to a good start with a score of 48.000 – a considerable improvement on the 47.300 the team posted a week before. Jacey Baldovino ’21 produced a stunning performance to record a 9.850 – the third time the junior has recorded at least a 9.825 this season. Alyssa Firth ’21 impressed in particular, posting a career-high 9.550, before Lindsay Chia ’22 added to the momentum with her own spectacular 9.600. Aimee Titche ’23 was entrusted to be the lead-off and proved her reliability with a solid 9.350. Fellow rookie Raegan Walker ’23 suffered an unfortunate fall on her high-to-low release, but redeemed her routine with a strong dismount that earned a 9.125, before Caitlin Henry ’23 anchored strongly with a 9.650.

The Blue and White then rotated to the balance beam event, delivering another solid team performance, with a total of 48.725. Charlotte Cooperman ’21 gave the Bulldogs a bright start with a hit 9.725 routine, before Chia also delivered a similar standard of performance to post a 9.700. Seniors Firmstone and Carly Israel ’20 lead by example to post huge scores of 9.850 and 9.725, respectively. Firmstone’s total earned her first in the event and her score also went down as the the fourth-highest beam performance in Yale gymnastics history. Meanwhile, Israel’s score marked a career high.

The Blue and White carried its momentum over to the floor exercise, with many excellent individual performances bolstering the Bulldogs to a total of 48.925 to take second in the event. Rebecca Chong ’20, Firth, Baldovino, and Firmstone recorded impressive scores of 9.800 to all tie for fourth-place in the event. This represented Firth’s third mark of 9.800 or higher in the event this season and Baldovino’s second. Cooperman also had a great performance with a 9.725, before anchor Sofia Menemenlis ’20 redeemed an early wobble to post a 9.050 to round up the event.

“I think the biggest factor that has prompted the team’s success on beam and floor is the amount of hard work, dedication, and consistency that both line-ups have put in day in and day out at practice.” Anna Jennings ’20 said. “Our team is extremely lucky to have the hard working girls that we do so that when we go to competition we have successful events, such as beam and floor.”

With the day coming to a close, the Bulldogs ended on a high note on vault. Jennings continued to be a reliable lead-off, completing a yurchenko tuck full that garnered a score of 9.425 from the judges. Cooperman and Titche both received scores of 9.800, which placed the pair in a tie for the fourth-highest score in Yale vault history. However, it was Firth who impressed the most, completing a yurchenko-full to earn a season and career-high of 9.850 and finish third overall. This also marked her as the second highest vault scorer in Yale history. The vault total amounted to a season-high of 48.725 as the team produced the third-highest vault total in Yale history.

“Next weekend our goal is really just to continue building off of our success from last weekend,” Firth said. ”We want to keep increasing our team score and know that in order to do this we need to focus on the same details in the gym such as our landings and form.”

The Bulldogs will now turn their attention to this Sunday, when they will compete at George Washington in a meet also consisting of Maryland, Towson and William & Mary. The invitational commences at 1 p.m.

Syimyk Kyshtoobaev | syimyk.kyshtoobaev@yale.edu