March 8, 2004

Gymnasts Finish Third in Home Meet

Print More

Even though the gymnastics team lost at home over the weekend, it provided a fitting farewell to its three graduating seniors. The Red placed third with a score of 192.450, the third-highest score in Cornell history, behind Western Michigan (194.425) and Rutgers (194.075). Ithaca College rounded out the quad-meet with a 190.450.

Seniors Stefi Daehler, Debbie George, and Rachel Goldberg were competing in their final home meet as Cornell gymnasts. Daehler is a two-year captain who has anchored a floor exercise lineup this season that has been hit with many injuries. George elevated her performance as a senior by introducing a new vault, becoming a threat in what is regarded as the Red’s worst overall event. Goldberg left fans with something to remember her by in her final two meets, setting a new record on vault last weekend.

“It’s really exciting for them, because I know they’re all going off to bigger and better things,” said junior Shellen Goltz. “But it’s also very sad, because when I came here on my recruiting trip, I got to know a lot of them. They’re a big part of the reason I came here.”

Senior Katie Nicklas, who has missed the entire season due to injuries after starting on the balance beam for three years, was also honored on Saturday. The four gymnasts performed an exhibition floor routine together, as it was the final opportunity for the Cornell community to see them together.

“It’s going to horrible the really last meet, because I know that I’m going to be upset about it,” said sophomore Cathy Schnell.

“I’m trying not to cry,” added Daehler. “I don’t want to graduate.”

The Red overcame the problems it experienced on the balance beam a week ago, where three falls put an Ivy Classic victory out of reach. On Saturday, the team recorded no falls on beam, improving by almost a point and a half. The vast improvement is due almost entirely to revamped practices focusing on the event.

“We worked beam so hard,” said Schnell. “We’ve had to go every day and hit five routines in a row before we could leave. Whether that’s five routines or thirty routines, you were on beam until you made five in a row.”

Goltz led the Red on beam with a score of 9.825, enough for third place. The performance was even more amazing since it was her first time on beam this season.

“It felt really good,” said Goltz. “I was a little bit nervous beforehand, but I felt really good when I was up there.”

“That’s why she’s an all-American,” added head coach Paul Beckwith.

Goltz also debuted her new dismount combination on the uneven bars. While she was not able to stick the landing, Beckwith is excited about the scores that will come when she starts to hit it.

“The head judge came up afterwards and said that’s the coolest thing he’s ever seen on bars,” said Beckwith. “He said in five years, he hasn’t seen anything that new and different.”

The Red will be back in action this Sunday when it travels to Philadelphia to face Temple, the final meet before the ECAC Championships.

Archived article by Dan Carroll