April 19, 2001

Gymnastics Continues to Improve

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Since head coach Paul Beckwith arrived in Ithaca, the Cornell gymnastics team has done nothing but improve, carefully climbing each rung of success on its way to becoming a national powerhouse. This past weekend, the team took a huge leap up, as it placed fifth at the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships.

“We had never even made nationals before this year, and then to get fifth place when we were seeded eighth is just amazing,” freshman Rachel Goldberg exulted.

Goldberg, along with sophomore co-captain Abby Vedder and classmate Shannon Weiman all earned All-American nods. The three women are the only Cornellians ever to earn the honor. For Vedder, it is the second year in a row.

According to Goldberg, the acknowledgment was “pretty cool.”

“It’s nice to do well in an important event,” she stated.

“It feels great,” Vedder said. “I was really psyched.”

But the individual award was not nearly as exhilarating as the team’s performance.

“The experience was more special as a team,” Vedder agreed. “And a lot more fun.”

“We started out the season shaky, but to finish up like we did is amazing. We came together as a team, and it had a great atmosphere,” Goldberg added.

Having never been to the national championship, the women didn’t know what to expect.

“I was impressed to see what the other teams were doing [the day before], and I was thinking, ‘we definitely have to hit tomorrow,'” Goldberg reminisced.

“It had been a long season, and we were tired, and we had many injuries going in,” Vedder noted. “We knew we had to keep strong and keep fighting.”

And keep fighting they did. On the first day of competition, Weiman won the beam with a 9.825, tying a Cornell record, while Vedder finished sixth in the same event, helping her to a second straight All-American nod. Goldberg earned fourth place on the vault, scoring a 9.600. Freshman Katie Nicklas was a scant .025 points from earning her first All-American honor, getting a 9.550 in the bars and placing tenth.

The next day, Vedder, Weiman, and Goldberg competed for individual honors. Vedder scored a 9.750 on the beam and tied for second place. Weiman placed fourth in the same event with a 9.700. Goldberg finished ninth on the vault.

“We let a lot of the other teams know that we’re here to stay,” Vedder said. “It made us realize our potential as a team. We have more things in our reach.”

“We showed that we could exceed our expectations,” Goldberg finished.

Archived article by Sumeet Sarin