This weekend is make or break for the gymnastics team.
After a season littered with injuries, frustratingly close loses, and myriad broken records, the Red’s true strength will be tested at the ECAC championship tomorrow in Philadelphia.
Cornell will join Brown, James Madison, Penn, William & Mary, and Yale for the annual meet. The Red set a school all-around record at the event last year en route to a fifth place finish. It has never placed higher than third.
“Anything in the top three, or if we hit everything, then I’m happy,” said head coach Paul Beckwith. “If that’s last, then that’s where we are.”
Penn looks to be the favorite going into the championship. The Quakers set new school all-around records in four of its last six meets, including a 194.600 last week. The Red’s current record of 193.475 was set three weeks ago at the Ivy Classic, but it still believes a victory is within reach. “Penn is really the team to beat at this point,” Beckwith said. “I don’t see any reason we can’t go 194.”
Junior Shellen Goltz should be a major contributor this weekend. Besides looking to compete on vault again after recovering from an injury, the All-American has been perfecting a brand new uneven bars routine over the past few weeks. While Goltz has yet to hit the landing (which follows one of the most unique dismount combinations in the country), she has always excelled during the big meets.
“If Shellen hits her routine, she has a chance at winning an ECAC championship,” Beckwith said. “She’s [also] working vault really hard, because her vault will add more points to the team score than anything she can do right now.”
Another key factor at ECACs will be freshman Randi Bisbano. The current all-around record holder at Cornell, Bisbano has been limited in competition the past few meets in preparation for this weekend. The strength of her knee will determine how many events she competes in, and, ultimately, how high the team can score.
“We’re hoping that she will be in on bars, beam, and floor,” Beckwith said. “It’s up to her leg. There are just certain things that hurt her.”
The Red is going into the meet as the fourth seed, but it is ranked first on bars. The championship will be extremely close, with the season averages of all the teams being separated by only a few points. Similar to the Ivy Classic, the victor will be determined by who hits all of its events.
“I think we can do really well,” Goltz said. “This is the best season we’ve had so far.”
“I can’t predict, because I can’t do anything about the other teams,” Beckwith added. “All I know is that we’re going to hit.”
Archived article by Dan Carroll
Sun Staff Writer