This past weekend 12 members of Cornell’s gymnastics team attended the USAG Women’s Collegiate National Championships in Bridgeport, Conn. While Cornell did not qualify as a team, the individuals that participated took the meet as an opportunity to improve and perfect the routines they have been working on all season.
Day one of the meet consisted of qualifying rounds, with the participants split into two sessions. The top five routines for each session then moved on to the final rounds.
Defending champions senior Melanie Standridge on beam and sophomore Melanie Jorgensen on bars both qualified for the second round, along with junior McKenna Archer on vault who set a new personal record for her performance. The three were also awarded first team all- American. Junior captain Ashley Maher and senior Tiffany Chen both placed sixth in the qualifying round, and were honored with second team all-American status.
At the end of the second day of competition, Cornell finished with three girls placing in the finals — Standridge in second for beam, Jorgensen tied in seventh for bars, and Archer in third for vault.
“All in all, everyone did great,” said Maher. “We worked on some upgrades to add more difficulty to our routines, and everyone completed them successfully for the first time … it definitely helps us to look forward to next year.”
In order to better compete at the national level, several of Cornell’s team members added extra features to their routines in order to start their scores at a perfect 10.0.
Maher and sophomore Elise Kerner both added a full twist into their vault routines, and freshman Sammy VanderPutten added an additional half twist. Sophomore Mackenzie Sato added a new tumbling pass to her floor routine in order to start with a perfect score.
“It’s all in the details, and is all very close,” said junior captain Sarah Hein. “We hit every routine we put up, no falls … We’ve been working on perfecting skills and fine tuning in practice, and our work really showed this weekend.”
While this is the first time in several years that Cornell was unable to qualify for the competition as a team, the results of this meet show a promising future for the Red.
“We went and did what we planned to do, and I’m really proud of that,” said Maher. “Our preseason starts now … we’re looking forward to getting in the gym and working hard every day to perfect our skills so next year make it as a team again.”
“It was a great final weekend,” Hein said. “We had a lot of fun as a team, it was a great trip and we represented Cornell well as individuals. If we carry this mindset on to next season, it will really show, so we’re working to start off next season where we left off this year.”