April 17, 2002

Gymnastics Takes Sixth at Nationals

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The gymnasts finished sixth with an aggregate total of 189.450 points last week at the USA Gymnastics National Collegiate Championship hosted by Springfield College. The other colleges which participated in the event were Air Force, Texas Women’s University, Seattle Pacific, Centenary (La.), Southern Connecticut State, U.C. Davis and U.C. Santa Barbara.

It was the second time in two years that the Red attended the annual meet, which places the top-eight gymnastics teams which have six or fewer scholarship athletes on their rosters. Last year the team claimed the final spot, but this year it entered the event preseeded sixth. However, Cornell has no athletic scholarships, while some of the competing teams benefitted from scholarships.

“Cornell went into the competition seeded No. 6 and ended the competition at No. 6,” head coach Paul Beckwith said.

The team had strong performances in the vaults and floors on Thursday, the first day of the team competition. Although the gymnasts did well in the four-hour competition, they were not flawless. Yet even their best would not have guaranteed a first-place against the competition. Cornell was not invited to final team competition on Saturday.

“In hindsight if we had a perfect meet we could have been No. 4,” Beckwith said.

The women came back from the USA more experienced and with hardware in tow.

” It was our second year, we had qualified for the nationals and was a real honor, the team had an amazing season, it did involve a lot of work,” said sophomore Rachel Goldberg.

At the meet the National Gymnastics Coaches names the top eight finishers in the all-around and each event All-American performers.

Goldberg provided one of the top performances on the vaults. The former All-American did not compete on the vault for most of the year due to injury. Her time off did not show, though. Goldberg placed third in the vault with a score of 9.687, breaking the school meet record.

“It was a really great thing for her and Cornell,” Beckwith said.

Not to be outdone, freshman and ECAC Rookie of the Year Meghan Miller scored 9.750 and tied for the fourth place in the uneven bars.

Miller said that her “main goal was to make it to the finals, I was very proud to make it, and it was a very good experience.

“I went into the meet not knowing what to expect as a freshman and was hoping that the team and individuals would make the final.”

Ericka Ruelas of U.C. Davis won the event with a score of 9.900.

“It’s a high pressure situation and she has been amazing even though she has been unwell,” Beckwith said.

Miller has also had 12 out of 12 hit routines on the beam without falling off.

“She has an amazing average score for the meet,” according to Beckwith.

“Most of the schools at the meet were better than us and we have people who can make it to the top,” Beckwith said of the individual gymnasts.

The team had their first All-American three years back in Abby Vedder; three followed the following year: Vedder, Shannon Weiman and Goldberg. This year Miller joined Goldberg.

“Being picked as an All-American for the second year was an honor to get this recognition,” Goldberg said of her own accomplishments.

“We are just thrilled that every time we get seeded higher and higher