February 10, 2004

Bisbano Resets Record as Tumblers Take Third

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The lucky patrons in a Pittsburgh-area restaurant were treated to a surprise visit by a large group of seemingly famous young women this past weekend. Trailed by a reporter and photographer from Sports Illustrated, the gymnastics team traveled to the University of Pittsburgh on Saturday to compete against Pitt, Rutgers, and Brown.

The Red was no match for gymnastic powerhouses Pitt and Rutgers, but was able to take third place over Ivy League rival Brown with a score of 188.475. In the process, freshman Randi Bisbano and junior Larissa Calka had strong individual performances, both placing in the top five in the all-around. After coming off three straight record breaking performances, ECAC Rookie of the Week Bisbano failed to break her all-around record again, but her score of 38.375 still ranks as the third highest in school history. The performance was made even more amazing by the slight injury she has been busy fighting.

“Her knee is bothering her a little bit,” said head coach Paul Beckwith. “Her regular dismount hurts her knee, so we changed it.”

On Sunday, the Red traveled southwest to Morgantown, WV to take on West Virginia. While its score of 191.975 was easily trounced by WVU’s 196.725, the Red looks at the meet as a major victory.

“This was the second highest scoring meet in the history of our program,” said Beckwith. “We didn’t go in thinking we were going to beat the No. 22 team in the country.”

With the ability to relax and not worry so much about winning, the Red came out firing on all cylinders. While no team event record was broken, every event was just a tenth of a point under the record or less. Adding to such a comprehensive performance was Bisbano’s now-customary record breaking score. With a 39.100, she easily trounced her previous mark of 38.750.

“There’s not much room to go up,” said Beckwith, “but she can do it.”

Bisbano’s lone event win was the floor exercise. While event victories come with the territory of possibly being the best all-around gymnast in Cornell history, the feat was made more impressive because of where it happened. West Virginia is home to one of the premiere gymnastics programs in the country, and its point total on Sunday was one of the top 10 scores in the nation this year. As Beckwith will tell you, to win an event on the road against gymnasts of that caliber speaks volumes to how far Bisbano has progressed this year.

“She is the number one ranked all-around in our rankings for the USAG collegiate national competition,” said Beckwith, “[as well as] the number one ranked all-around in the northeast for the NCAA outside the top four teams.”

The Red will be back in action this Saturday at 1 p.m., when it hosts the Big Red Invitational, featuring Bridgeport, Brockport, Cortland, and Ithaca. Fans can find the SI “On Campus” issue featuring the team in The Daily Sun on Feb. 26.

Archived article by Dan Carroll