Coming off its best performance of the season a week ago against then-No. 28 West Virginia, the Cornell gymnastics team rode its upward momentum to a second place finish at the 2005 Ivy Classic in New Haven, Conn., this past weekend.
“They couldn’t have done a whole lot better,” said Cornell head coach Paul Beckwith. “I couldn’t think of all of the outstanding performances, there were so many of them … It was an incredibly happy day.”
Cheered on by many Cornell supporters, the team’s final score of 189.075 on Saturday was just shy of its season-high of 189.625, which it earned against West Virginia, and the 191.525 mark that Ivy Classic winner Yale posted.
Cornell started the four-squad competition on the balance beam, where senior Meghan Miller and freshman Megan Gilbert earned average scores of 9.450. The team’s 46.150 score on the beam was only second to Yale going into the floor exercise. Although it didn’t make a difference in the end, Beckwith said that two falls on the beam initially hurt the team’s score.
On the floor, the Red earned solid showings by sophomores Randi Bisbano and Kari Kucera, who posted scores of 9.650 and 9.625, respectively — leaving Cornell fourth after two events. Even with its placing, Beckwith was not overly worried since the Red had two of its strongest events left.
“Just by watching the scores on beam, [judges] weren’t throwing out very big scores and teams weren’t scoring very high,” Beckwith said.
The Red would move up to third place with a team score of 47.125 on the vault led by a 9.575 effort by freshman Colleen Davis. This gave the Cornell squad a total of 140.775 points in comparison to fourth-place Brown’s 138.675.
Cornell still trailed second-place Penn by almost 2.5 points going into the last event — the uneven bars. However, the Red solidified a second place finish with convincing performances to finish the day. Leading the way were juniors Cathy Schnell’s 9.775 and Shellen Goltz’s 9.750 — marks which were even higher than their scores against WVU a week ago.
“[The girls on bars] came through in a huge way,” Beckwith said. “Four of the six girls had their high scores of the year and that is really good.”
Senior Larissa Calka also pitched in with a 9.675 and Miller earned a 9.575, giving the Red a 48.300 on the bars — the highest team score in that event — and also helping it pass Penn for second place, giving the team some much needed momentum heading into ECAC championships in a month.
“We were a little slow out of the starting blocks this year,” Beckwith said. “I think everybody, freshmen, are starting to come through. Some people who haven’t been competing for us [in the past] have really made a difference for us.”
The gymnastics team will next compete on March 5, when it travels to Piscataway, N.J. to face Rutgers, Ursinus and Eastern Michigan.
“I am positive that in a couple weeks, we’ll be right up there with Yale,” Beckwith said. “We’re psyched.”
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Senior Editor