The Yale gymnastics team won its first ECAC team title Saturday afternoon, posting a season-best 194.600 in the team finals to edge out Cornell.
A season removed from a last-place finish at the event — and three weeks after a third-place finish at the four-team Ivy Classic — the Bulldogs peaked at the perfect time. Narrowly improving on the season-best score of 194.575 posted at George Washington a week ago, Yale scored 48.300 or higher on every event en route to defeating Ivy Classic champion and defending ECAC champion Cornell, Brown, Penn, William & Mary and Temple.
Freshman phenom Jade Buford ’20, Yale’s only all-around competitor, finished third with a score of 38.950. Her 9.825 on the floor exercise was not only the team’s best mark on the apparatus but also the second-highest floor score of the day.
Teammate Rebecca Chong ’20 was right behind her, as Chong’s 9.800 score on floor tied for third. Chong also scored a team-high 9.750 on the vault, an event in which all five of Yale’s counted scores were above 9.600.
Still, the team’s 48.375 on vault represented the lowest total of the four events. Thanks to explosive performances on the uneven bars and floor — two of the Elis’ strongest events throughout the course of the season — Yale created enough separation to survive a late surge from Brown on beam in the final rotation.
Megan Ryan ’18 scored a 9.875 on the bars, finishing second in the event, with Roxanne Trachentenberg ’19 adding a 9.800 to finish fifth. On the beam, Emma Firmstone ’20 finished fifth with a 9.800, Buford sixth with a 9.775 and Ella Anderson ’17 eighth with a 9.750.
In addition to the team title, Barbara Tonry won ECAC Coach of the Year in her 45th year at the helm of the program.