The Cornell Gymnastics team had an outstanding last home meet of the season beating Brown University, 193.100 to 190.925. Not only was this the Red’s best score this season, but it was also the third highest team score in school history. Many amazing individual performances helped the Red come out victorious.
“We won every event which is always great with an Ivy League opponent in the gym,” said head coach Paul Beckwith.
The team started on vault, taking the top four places. Senior Emily Santoro won with a 9.750, sophomore McKenna Archer took second with a 9.725, senior Maddie Pearsall took third with a 9.575 and sophomore Sarah Hein received fourth with a 9.550.
The team then moved to bars where they had the top three performances. The team score on bars was the second highest in school history — just missing its record by two tenths of a point. Junior Bethany Neczypor tied for the win with freshman Melanie Jorgensen, both receiving a 9.850. Pearsall took second place with a 9.800.
The performance of the meet goes to junior Melanie Standridge who won beam with a 9.9. This score sets a new school record and ranks her first in the Northeast region, and likely to make the NCAA.
“One judge actually gave her a 9.95,” Beckwith explained. “She is only the second gymnast in school history to receive a 9.95 from any judge, in any event.”
Archer received second place with a 9.750.
There was a three-way tie on floor for first place between Pearsall, Santoro and a gymnast from Brown all scoring 9.800.
However, this meet was not only about the competition — it was the seniors’ last time competing at Teagle Gymnasium.
“The senior meet was one of the best meets of the year for the team and I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better for us,” Santoro said.
The seniors’ parents marched them out onto the floor before the meet and the junior class gave a small presentation.
“These girls are my best friends and we’ve had so much fun. We work so hard but have a great time doing it …We always have a lot of fun together,” Pearsall said.
The day was an emotional one for the seniors who are sad to be done with their Cornell athletics careers.
“Over the past four years I have been a part of four great different teams,” said senior Kerri Lavallee. “Each of them has been extremely supportive of each other and each of them has contributed to our team successes and individual successes.”
“These past four years have been the best and I’m really going to miss being on the team with everyone. It’s given me many great memories both in the gym and out.” Santoro said.
The seniors also gave advice to the freshmen.
“I’m going get sentimental on the freshmen and suggest that they truly cherish every single meet, paper plate award, and ice bath they have because the end is going to sneak up on them quickly and they won’t know what hit them until they’re walking out with their parents at senior meet,” said senior Danielle Scott.
There was one piece of advice that seemed to echo from all the seniors..
“Beat Penn every chance you get over the next three to four years,” Lavalle said. “Every win against them is the most rewarding.”
The team still has a couple meets left in their season, including the ECAC’s at Brown University this upcoming weekend. The team has also scored a spot in the USA Collegiate National Championships in mid-April.
“We are solidly in third place and cannot be pushed out,” Beckwith said. “Only the top eight teams in the country with eight or less scholarships go to this meet.”
Although this past meet was the last time the seniors will compete at home, they still have a few meets left.
“I know they’re [the freshmen] going to continue to do great things, but I’m very excited to finish this season up strong,” Pearsall said. “We seniors have had an awesome run, but it’s not over yet!”
Original Author: Karen Schillinger