January 27, 2004

Tumblers Take Second At Brown Invitational

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The only thing more exciting to the Red gymnasts than two strong performances over the weekend is the week off ahead of them. With a tremendous amount of bad luck causing injuries and old injuries acting up, the gymnastics team fought through the pain to break records and score high enough to compete with Rhode Island and Brown.

On Saturday, Red freshmen ruled the day by setting three individual records and helping set a new team record on beam, en route to a 191.975-190.475 loss at Rhode Island. Freshman Randi Bisbano broke the all-around mark for the second straight meet with a 38.725, nearly .5 points higher than her previous score. Her performance also earned her first place in the all-around and uneven bars, and a second place finish in the vault.

Classmates Hayley Gutman and Kari Kucera notched matching 9.850 scores on beam, besting the previous school record of 9.825.

“It’s very welcoming and inspiring,” said Gutman. “It makes me feel a part of the school right off the bat.”

Even with strong individual performances, however, the Red was not able to walk out of Hutch Gymnasium with a victory due to low scores on the floor exercise.

“We would have taken Rhode Island if we had been able to do floor,” said head coach Paul Beckwith. “It was a really hard floor and we weren’t used to the timing.”

The Red stayed in Rhode Island on Sunday for an invitation meet at Brown.

It placed second out of four teams with a 188.950, highlighted by Bisbano breaking her own record for the second-straight match with a 38.750. Her performance was marked by a career-high 9.800 in the floor exercise, ranking among the top five all-time at Cornell. For her efforts, she was named the Tompkins Trust Company/Cornell Athlete of the Week, the ECAC Rookie of the Week, and The Daily Sun athlete of the week.

“It’s nice to know I am contributing as much as possible to the team and helping them out,” said Bisbano.

Although records continued to fall at Brown, the Red struggled on vault with two scores of 8.850 or below counting due to a thinned roster. Brown won its invitational with a 189.875, with Ithaca (184.700) and M.I.T. (181.375) placing third and fourth, respectively.

“The beam scores at Brown were the lowest I’ve seen in all my years of coaching,” said Beckwith. “We did just as well and scored 10 points lower on that event, with everybody hitting.”

Without a competition this weekend, the Red will look to rest and recover from a long list of injuries. In addition to freshman Adrian Saxton (ankle), juniors Allison Betof (ankle) and Shellen Goltz (back), and senior Steffi Daehler (back), the past week brought about ankle injuries to freshmen Stephanie Ohler and Kari Kucera. However, even with the new injuries, Beckwith is confident that a week off is just the right cure to get the team back on track.

“They’ll both be back with us,” he said. “We have a weekend off, which is the best news anywhere. We’re really down.”

The Red will be back in action on Feb. 7 with a tri-meet against Pittsburgh and Rutgers. The team looks to have a healthy squad and continue raising the bar for itself.

“I want to get a better vault,” said Kucera, “and I really want to break the record again on beam.”

Archived article by Dan Carroll