Yale Athletics

The Yale women’s gymnastics team flipped their way to a season-high team score against the University of Pennsylvania on Sunday, Jan. 28, and fell to Brown this past Sunday, Feb. 4 by just over a full point. 

Two weeks ago, the Elis posted a season-high team score of 194.675 against Penn, their highest team score since 2022. This was their first “zero falls” meet, wherein not a single gymnast’s routine with a fall was counted in their entire line-up. Although the Bulldogs had promising scores, they fell to the Quakers. The following weekend, the gymnasts fell slightly short again against the Bears, but still managed to earn a team score of 192.900, more than a point above their team score against Brown last season (191.850). 

“We don’t focus too much on scores, we’re just trying to hit our routines,” said head coach Andrew Leis. “We didn’t count a fall at this meet, but our next goal is to hit 24 for 24. So to have all six routines on all four events consistent, and then I think everything else will take care of itself from there.”

Against Penn, the Bulldogs team score solely consisted of zero fall routines, even though one of the only five out of six of the routines had zero-falls. In collegiate gymnastics, you are allowed to drop one score from your results, in order to maximize the team score point total. Thus, the one fall the team had with their leadoff gymnast on the balance beam, was not counted toward the 194.675 team score. 

Typically in collegiate gymnastics, it is common to see more than one fall on an event if one of the leadoff gymnasts falls on the event. For this reason, it is impressive that the next five routines on the event hit for the Bulldogs. Sporting their respective multi-colored hair ribbons for each class’ “My Cause” of choice, the gymnasts mustered support in their balance on the beam and for general awareness. 

“Our team did a really good job of keeping their composure and fighting through that rotation,” said Leis. “I thought that was a really big barrier for us to kind of cross this past meet. And, you know, obviously, the score we can improve a lot, but the fact that we stayed on after that fall, I thought was a good test for us.”

However, their scores did prove powerful against Penn. Their vault score (48.750) was only half a tenth from their vault program record, with Gigi Sabatini ’26 and Sherry Wang ’24 scoring a solid 9.8 and 9.775, respectively. 

The uneven bars, which, according to Leis, is the team’s favorite event to start on, were no challenge for the Elis, as they scored a solid 48.525 on the event as a team. Leis said that other teams get “nervous” when they start on bars, but that his team “looks forward to it.” But, no matter what event they get randomly chosen to start on, they will “not worry about the stuff [they] can’t control.”

As usual, the gymnasts dominated on the floor, scoring three 9.825s and a cumulative 49.025 points. The team continues to have “really strong individual performances,” but are still working on what they can accomplish as a unit, Leis said. 

The Bears also proved to be strong competitors, continuing their winning streak from last year’s Ivy Championship win.

According to Leis, “[Brown has] come out their first couple of weeks looking strong as well. So, our focus this week in practice is just to get where we’re trying to get every routine to improve by one half tenth. And then that will add up, you know, when you do the math over four events, that’s over a point on your team score.”

Although they weren’t able to do just that, their performance against Brown improved from last season. Sabatini competed on all four events, with her vault continuing to be a leader on the event for the Bulldogs. 

Wang, Sarah Wilson ’24 and Lily Aucoin ’27 also put up strong performances on the uneven bars right at the start of the meet. Ella Tashjian ’27, the team’s newest GEC Newcomer of the Week, leaped and landed on the floor perfectly, meaning a 9.825 and tying for second place on the event. 

Leis described her as “humble” and “business as usual,” but said that he also knows that Tashjian has the team in mind because “we’re big picture — we want to win as a group,” he said.

Looking forward, Leis and the team know that the four Ivy League teams are going to be strong and competitive forces this season, but they have faith in their abilities after putting up solid performances only three meets into the season. 

“I think this weekend proved to everybody and to us and to them that we’re going to give them a good challenge this year,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting.”

The team will be back home this weekend for their annual tri-meet at the Tonry Invitational. 

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.