Yale Athletics

The Bulldogs have flipped, swung and stuck for the last time this spring, and this time it was at their biggest meet yet — the GEC Championship. 

The 2024 gymnasts were able to deliver an impressive performance at the Gymnastics East Conference Championships in none other than the JLA at home. The team came 1.15 points behind Penn, marking this meet as the fourth time the team has beat the 195 barrier this season. Aside from the accomplishments of the meet, head coach Andrew Leis was named 2024 GEC Coach of the Year.

“There’s some big shoes to fill with our graduating seniors with Emma [Mangiacapre ’24], Sarah [Wilson ’24] and Sherry [Wang ’24],” Leis said. “So kind of, you know, picking up where those holes are going to be, but also looking to get a little stronger on vault, which is where I think we can continue to get a little more depth and catapult us up in the GEC rankings.”

The uneven bars and floor events were their highlights as they put up a good fight for Penn. In fact, the team’s overall bars score was their season high.

Wilson gave the event her all for one last time, and it paid off. She received the individual gold in the event after scoring a stunning 9.9. Although the bars lineup will miss her presence, first-year Lily Aucoin ’27 wasn’t too far behind on the event, securing a 9.825.

“I think floor was our best event,” Leis said. “And bars was right there with it. I think that’s what really helped elevate us this year. But you know, overall, it was also really good competition.”

The gymnasts shone bright on their home floor and last event, dancing with precision and elegance, while also sticking their power-filled tumbling passes. They were able to secure their second 9.9 of the evening on the floor, this time with Ella Tashjian ’27. Also on the podium tying for third place in the event were Wilson and Chloe DeJoy ’27, both with a 9.875.

Leis called floor their biggest improvement this year and attested a lot of the improvement to new assistant coach and former Alaskan Seawolf gymnast, Isabelle Fox.

For his incredible work uplifting the team over the last couple of years after former head coach Barbara Tonry’s passing in 2021, Andrew Leis received the 2024 GEC Coach of the Year award. He “is not big on the individual awards,” but said that the acknowledgment is “a testament to the team” and that his team just “makes his job easy.”

Looking forward, the seniors will be missed. Although the incoming class of 2028 has some big shoes to fill, they are highly ranked coming in.

While the gymnasts rest up, the coaches’ focus has turned to recruiting the current high school class of 2025. They are working to host the first-ever Yale Gymnastics summer camp — an opportunity to have young gymnasts train at Yale’s facilities and get to know the coaches and atmosphere. 

Tashjian’s recent accolade, GEC Newcomer of the Year, rounds out the team’s two impressive extra GEC awards this season. 

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.