January 27, 2006

Gymnasts to Face Cortland State

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The gymnastics team is set to make the 20-minute drive to Cortland State tomorrow where it is slated to compete in dual competition at 7 p.m. The team has had a rough start to the season, fighting illness while competing.

“It’s been a rocky start,” said head coach Paul Beckwith. “We’ve had some of our top athletes sick. We were missing our best all-arounder [senior Randi Bisbano] at George Washington and [sophomore] Megan Gilbert was sick last week and didn’t compete at all. We’ve just had such a hard time with the flu. It’s a little disappointing but there is nothing you can do about it. It’s not like they’re injured.”

The Red is coming off of a fifth-place showing at the George Washington Invitational and last weekend’s fourth-place finish at Penn State, where the Red racked up a total of 181.175 team points.

At the George Washington Invite, the Red scored 181.550 team points, good enough to best Temple by three-tenths of a point. Nationally-ranked North Carolina won the event. The tournament was the Red’s first competition of the season.

“Winning is all based on who is more ready,” Beckwith said. “We were just more ready than Temple and North Carolina was much readier than we were.”

Cornell’s only top-5 finisher was Gilbert, who finished seventh in the vault and fifth in the all-around. Junior Kari Kucera finished ninth on the floor.

The team was again shorthanded with Gilbert out of the lineup as it faced top-notch competition at Penn State, where it competed against nationally-ranked teams Michigan, West Virginia, and host Nittany Lions. The team posted a high-event score on beam with a 46.000.

“We knew it was going to be tough having our kids sick and with the teams being so good,” Beckwith said. “We were going in just trying to have a good meet with our people and I think we did that.”

The team struggled during the first rotation but rallied back to post scores of 42.475 or better in every other event. Kucera and sophomore Leslie Gregory each placed in the top-15 on the floor.

Despite the team’s early misfortunes with health, the team remains confident that results will start to come this weekend.

“I still believe that on paper, this is the best team we’ve ever had,” Beckwith said. “We just have to get healthy.”

Looking forward to tomorrow’s match up, the Red Dragons have had a strong showing behind the tutelage of head coach Gary Babjack Cortland placed second at the West Chester Invite, trailing only MIT in the final standings. The team is highlighted by seniors Lindsey Marranca and Luisa Gutierrez and has received strong showings from sophomores Tanya Shull and Brittany Wiesner.

The Red will look to overcome adversity once again as Gregory left practice yesterday after feeling ill. She is questionable for tomorrow’s meet. Despite her sickness, the team looks to have success tomorrow night.

“I don’t want to jinx anything but we should win this one,” Beckwith said. “We’ve consistently been five or so points ahead of them.”

After this weekend’s competition, the Red will welcome Brown to Teagle Hall next weekend for its home and Ivy League opener. Two more wins will give Beckwith the 100th of his career.

Archived article by Tim Kuhls
Sun Staff Writer