Yale Athletics

The Yale gymnasts were unable to bring home a title at Ivies this year, but they found a silver lining as stand-out gymnast Raegan Walker ’23 tied a record on the uneven bars. 

The gymnasts faced the other Ivy League gymnastics teams — Brown University, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania — at the Ivy Classic this past Sunday at Brown’s Pizzitola Sports Center. The team fell short of their championship-winning performance last year, placing third overall, ahead of Cornell but behind Penn and Brown. Although the Bears snagged the first place spot, the Bulldogs’ own Raegan Walker tied the record for Yale’s best bars score in program history, earning a 9.950 in the event. 

“Our team is full of fighters with a never-give-up attitude,” said head coach Andrew Leis. “We didn’t quite have the start to the Ivy Classic that we were hoping for, but I was proud of the way they finished. We have more work to do in the gym and I know this team is going to keep showing up and our best is yet to come!”

The balance beam, the team’s first event of the meet, proved shaky for the Bulldogs — it was their lowest score overall, at 47.600. Despite the wobbles and occasional falls from the beam squad, Emma Mangiacapre ’24 was able to tie for fifth overall in the event with a 9.750, sticking to the four inches of beam after her back handspring back layout. 

Hana Strause ’26 and Sarah Wilson ’24 were the highest scorers on the floor exercise, the event that saw the Bulldogs start to make their comeback. Both tied with a 9.725; Strause nailed her 2 ½ twisting layout to front tuck and Wilson nearly stuck her double pike tumbling pass. 

In response to the team’s loss, Wilson, the Week 4 GEC Gymnast of the Week, chose to look towards the future. 

“I am most excited in watching my team grow in confidence throughout this season,” Wilson said. “We have great talent and grit, so I know that greatness awaits.” 

The vault team had their best performance of the season, earning a 48.775, the second-best vault team score in all of program history. According to Leis, “they put in a great week of practice and it showed in the competition.”

First year Gigi Sabatini ’26 continued to stand out in the event, scoring a 9.825 with her incredibly difficult Yurchenko full. This was Sabatini’s Ivy Classic debut, in which she placed second on vault and second overall in the all-around with a total score of 38.775, just 0.175 from first place — a remarkable showing from a first-year Ivy competitor. She attributes her success to her team. 

“Everyone is always building each other up and working so hard at practice every day and this motivates me to do everything that I can do so we can achieve our team goals,” Sabatini said.

The team ended the meet with a season high on the bars rotation with a 48.9. In addition to her program and career highs, Walker received a 10.00 from one of the judges on the event — the highest possible, perfect and extremely rare score. 

“The best moment of the meet was definitely Reagan’s bar routine. She works so hard in practice and so seeing her hit a perfect routine in competition and getting rewarded with the score was really special,” said Sabatini. 

Additionally, Caitlin Henry ’23 was in the anchor position for the uneven bars, scoring a 9.675 with a performance that her head coach said is always a “highlight.” Leis added that Henry’s “hit routine allowed us to drop a missed routine and put us into third place for the competition.”

The gymnasts have four big meets left this season, the next one being the senior meet and last home meet in the John J. Lee Amphitheater. 

“I know we will be ready to put on a show,” Leis said. “We will get back into the gym this week and work on our consistency and all of the little details that make our team great.”

The Bulldogs will face the University of Bridgeport and Rhode Island College at their senior meet this Sunday at 1 p.m. in the John J. Lee Amphitheater. 

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.