April 21, 2003

Gymnasts Take Seventh at USAG

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Although it posted its second highest team score of the season, the gymnastics team finished seventh at the 2003 United USAG Collegiate National Championships this past weekend. The event, held at the Texas Woman’s University was open to squads across the country which offered limited or no athletic scholarships to its athletes.

Coming off of a school-record score of 192.600 at the ECAC championships three weeks ago, Cornell gave its second consecutive solid performance with a team total of 190.725. That mark would have given the Red a second-place finish just a year ago, but with much tougher competition, was only good for second-to-last.

Texas Woman’s University blew away the competition, scoring 194.650. Seattle Pacific (192.675) and Temple (192.400) followed, finishing second and third, respectively. Last year’s winner, Air Force, finished a disappointing fourth (192.175), with U.C. Davis (191.550), Centenary (191.475), Cornell, and Bridgeport (186.675) rounding out the field.

Sophomore Shellen Goltz was Cornell’s highest individual finisher, placing seventh on the beam with a 9.725. With that score, Goltz qualified for the individual championships which were held Saturday night.

“It was super ironic,” said head coach Paul Beckwith. “She hurt herself on the beam in the first meet of the season at George Washington, and only started competing in it again for the last four or five meets of the season.”

Goltz also earned the distinction of All-American, bestowed upon performers who finish in the top-eight of their respective events. She is only the fourth Cornellian to earn this honor.

“She did a really good routine,” said Beckwith. “We’re very proud.”

On the bars, sophomores Meghan Miller and Andrea Mavro barely missed the All-America cut, finishing ninth and 10th, respectively. Miller finished just .025 out of eighth place, ending with a 9.775, while Mavro was close behind with a score of 9.750.

Sophomore Larissa Calka, Cornell’s star all season long in the all-around competition, finished 17th. However, she had a strong finish on the floor exercise, finishing ninth with a 9.825.

Juniors Rachel Goldberg and Denise Hurd provided the Red with season-best performances on the vault. Goldberg, who had placed third on the apparatus a season ago, posted a disappointing 15th-place performance. Meanwhile, classmate Hurd finished 18th.

“We really hit pretty well,” assessed Beckwith. “They know they could have done better but that’s where we needed to be.”

This weekend’s performance was Cornell’s best ever at Nationals, a feat made even more remarkable by the fact that it was accomplished with a team that has been decimated by injury all year.

“We’re really excited about next year,” said Beckwith. “This meet was incredibly inspiring for us and next year is going to be absolutely fabulous.”

Archived article by Alex Ip