With the ECAC championships being held a week from tomorrow, the gymnastics team would be grateful for a relaxing weekend to recover from a long stretch of difficult meets. But relaxation is the last thing the Red will get, as it faces its most evenly matched competitor, Temple, in Philadelphia on Sunday.
“They are exactly like us,” said head coach Paul Beckwith. “In the national rankings, they are ranked a couple hundredths of point above us.”
Temple, which is averaging 190.345 points per outing, is coming off a season-high score of 193.575. That mark is only 0.1 points higher than the Red’s school record, which was set two weeks ago at the Ivy Classic. The Red has averaged 190.191 points per meet.
“When I was a recruit, they lost to Temple by .075,” said sophomore Cathy Schnell. “Last year, when I came here, we lost by .025. It will be a very, very, very close meet, but we want to come out on top this time.”
The Red hope to continue the success on beam it witnessed last week after faltering for much of the season on the event. There is no reason why the scores should drop, since the team’s personnel continues to get healthier.
Junior all-American Shellen Goltz made her return on beam last week, leading the Red with the third-highest score in team history.
“I’d like to do the same thing I did on beam [last week],” said Goltz, “and I’d like to hit my new bar routine.”
Freshman Christina Baez also returned to action last weekend, competing in both the vault and on the balance beam.
“She had a bad back,” said Beckwith. “She’s worked really hard on beam, and she had a great performance.”
The Red’s main focus this week will most likely be the vault. With ECAC’s quickly approaching, the team has little time remaining to work on its weakest event. Two major mistakes last week cost the team nearly a point. While the outcome of last weekend’s meet would not have been affected without those errors, such mistakes would definitely wreak havoc with the team’s ECAC Championship bid.
The meet against Temple provides the perfect opportunity to boost confidence on the event.
“They’re going to have a little advantage being at home,” said Beckwith, “but if we hit vault, we are a better team.”
After two nail-biting losses to Temple in the last two years, the Red is finally looking to break through against the Owls, while elevating its game before the championship season begins.
“We’re getting a little angry,” said Schnell. “We know we can do it.”
Archived article by Dan Carroll