Cornell gymnastics hosted the annual Cornell Invitational quad meet on Saturday in Teagle Gymnasium, and despite facing strong competition from Bridgeport, SUNY Brockport and Ithaca College, the home team rose up to the challenge and had its best showing of the year.
The Red emerged victorious and set a new school record with an overall score of 194.450. Bridgeport finished a distant second with a 193.225, followed by Brockport with a 189.550 and Ithaca College with a 189.150.
Assistant coach Melanie Dilliplane was pleased with the performance, lauding the girls for their continued dedication.
“They have been working really hard in the gym to correct the little mistakes, focus their minds during routines and also [update] their routines with new skills, especially on vaults,” Dilliplane said.
Several standout individual performances contributed to the team’s record-breaking score. Sophomore Lyanda Dudley set a school all-around record with a score of 39.225, surpassing the previous mark of 39.100. She scored 9.725 on vault, 9.850 on the beam, a 9.900 on the floor — including a perfect 10.0 mark from one of the judges, a first in team history — and a 9.750 on the bars. Classmate Kaitlin Green tied Dudley for second on the beam with a 9.850 and won the bars with a 9.825.
“I thought the team did amazing,” said freshman Payton Murphy. “The atmosphere was great, we paid attention to detail, and the meet motivated us to be even better this weekend.”
Dilliplane agreed that the team fed off the home-gym advantage.
“There’s something special about an audience that is sitting literally 4 feet from the action and how they add to the excitement of competition,” she said. “I think the team thrives on that type of crowd and excitement — it adds to their own feelings and creates an electricity that you can feel.”
For the Red, the meet was the culmination of weeks of hard work and persistence.
“It was a fantastic feeling to finally put everything together,” Dudley said. “At the beginning of the season, I would usually have a decent meet except for one event. This weekend I hit four-for-four, and the best part was knowing that hitting helped my team break a record too.”
The team is still not satisfied with its achievements and is working hard this week to come away with a win against West Chester in a dual meet on Saturday. The team believes that its team-first mentality will be crucial for success.
“This week we are really focusing on team over self,” Dudley added. “We want everyone to compete with the mindset of excelling for the team. It’s not about how you do as an individual.”
Dilliplane also said that despite the record-setting weekend, there are still ways that the team can improve as the ECAC championships near.
“Heading into this weekend, we still need to step up our vaults,” Dilliplane said. “If we can do what we did last weekend on the other events, then we should be able to step it up a notch in the score. This team definitely has the potential to increase our team score. We certainly have the talent and with the Ivy Championships in two weeks, now is the time to really put it all together.”
The dual meet against West Chester will take place in the friendly confines of Teagle Gymnasium, yet again, Saturday at 1 pm.