Yasmine Halmane, Photo Editor

The Yale gymnastics team won the Ivy Classic, a competition against all the other Ivy League teams, earning its season-high team score of 195.050 last Sunday afternoon. Less than a point behind the Bulldogs was Penn (194.125), who were last year’s Ivy Classic champions. In third place was Brown (192.250) and Cornell finished in fourth (191.625). 

“Coming into today we had some mistakes at previous meets that we have been working so hard in the gym on fixing and improving,” interim head coach Andrew Leis said. “We have believed in ourselves all year long and we were proud to show it in our performance at the Ivy Classic.” 

This was the Bulldogs’ 17th Ivy Classic title and the team’s highest score of the season. Yale beat its last highest score this season against Penn (194.200) by 0.85 points. The team’s best event of the meet was the balance beam (49.100), which was just .100 under than the school record. Raegan Walker ’23, Lindsay Chia ’22 and Kendal Toy ’22 were the top three scorers on the event. 

“Our standout was the beam,” Leis said after his team put up the third highest beam score in school history. Hitting their routines with “confidence and poise,” the team dominated the event, according to Leis. 

Not scoring below a 48.000 in any other event, the team also had many individual performance highlights as well. Chia, who placed first on vault (9.825), was less than a point away from the school record previously set by Tara Feld ’13. Walker tied for third on the uneven bars (9.875). Yale won the floor exercise with a 48.650 and Chia placed first with teammate Walker closely behind in second. Chia also won the individual all-around with a score of 39.150.

Seina Cho ’22, the team’s captain, attributes her squad’s win as “a combined effort that would not have been possible without every single person’s commitment to the team.” 

The highlight of the meet for her was when Chia, the last gymnast to compete on the last event for the Bulldogs, stuck her landing on the vault. “At that moment we knew we had just become the Ivy Champions,” Seina said.

According to Sherry Wang ’24, some of the team’s best performances included Raegan scoring a 9.9 on the balance beam despite a fall, and Lindsay’s stuck vault at the end of the meet. Sherry also helped the squad get back on track after a fall from her teammate on the uneven bars, the team’s first event of the day. Sherry also stuck her vault and earned her career high score.

Sherry described the moment the team won as “truly surreal” and Seina described it as “super emotional.” Seina said, “It wasn’t just about accomplishing the goal that we had set for ourselves but about competing for each other and for Barb. It was extra special to be able to honor Barb and add to her legacy in front of a home crowd.”

This was the team’s first Ivy Classic win since the death of head coach Barbara Tonry in 2021. The win also put the Bulldogs much closer to Penn in the Gymnastics East Conference rankings in terms of their average score, which is now just one point away. 

According to Riley Meeks ’23, the team’s motto this season, “fuel the fire,” was what pushed them to win the event. 

“That fire certainly showed up on the competition floor,” Riley said. She further added that she is excited to see what else YGT 49 has left to offer this competition season. 

Leis is “incredibly proud of his team” and he knows “how motivated they have been to get back out onto the competition floor.”

The Bulldogs will compete against Maryland, North Carolina State and William and Mary on Sunday, March 6 in College Park, Maryland.

Paloma Vigil is the Arts Editor for the Yale Daily News. She previously served as a DEI co-chair and staff reporter for the University and Sports desks. Past coverage includes religious life, Yale College Council, sailing and gymnastics. Originally from Miami, she is a junior in Pauli Murray College majoring in Psychology and Political Science.