After a disappointing showing at Towson last weekend, the gymnastics team will try to quickly regroup as it heads to Penn State Saturday to compete in a tough quad meet with New Hampshire, Missouri and the Nittany Lions.
“[The meet] should offer us a lot of competition,” said head coach Paul Beckwith. “Missouri and Penn St. are in the top 25 in the country, and Penn St. just put up over 196 points last weekend. That’s three more than our school record.”
However, the tough scheduling does not scare the Red, as the squad is looking forward to facing some of the best teams in the nation.
“It should be great for us,” Beckwith said. “We usually step it up a notch when we face tough teams, so I’m looking for big things this weekend.”
For the Red to succeed, it will have do so without some of its best competitors. Most notable of these is Randi Bisbano, the team’s top all-around individual and an All-American on the uneven bars, as well as the beam last year. Bisbano will be sidelined for at least another month with a broken finger.
Nevertheless, Beckwith believes that his team has the ability for make up for these losses.
“We have been struggling with injuries, but people have been stepping up. We do have some depth this year, so we should be able to overcome injuries. It’s a real team effort.”
Key performances for Cornell should come from its five seniors, who have already been leading the squad early in the season. As always, senior Meghan Miller, the three time defending ECAC champion on bars, has been impressive in that event and on the beam. Also, senior co-captains Larissa Calka and Andrea Mavro have acted as strong leaders and competitors for the Red.
Not to be outdone, freshmen Megan Gilbert and Colleen Davis have contributed as well, especially on the vault. Gilbert earned ECAC Gymnastics Rooking of the Week honors after scoing high on the vault and floor two weeks ago, while Davis was Cornell’s high scorer on the vault against Towson.
The vault has become the Red’s strongest event, quite a turnaround from last year when it was one of the team’s weaknesses.
“This season’s been a change from last year,” Beckwith said. “Valuting is now our strength, while we are now least consistent on the bars, which was our best event a year ago.”
The Cornell squad kicked off its season two weaks ago by hosting Rhode Island. Though there were some miscues, the Red, coming off only ten days of practice since winter break, pulled out the victory.
“It’s always like that every year. No one’s ever ready for that meet,” Beckwith said. “It’s about who can stay on the apparatus the best. I think we had a pretty decent meet though.”
At Towson last weekend, Cornell again had trouble earning high marks, but this time was not as fortunate in the team standings, dropping the meet 190.950-182.625. The Red placed only one gymnast in the top four in any event — Davis’ fourth-place showing on the vault.
“To be honest, we struggled,” Beckwith said. “The new scoring system has lowered all scores, so where we’d usually be scoring near 190 by now, we should now be scoring around 185 or 186.”
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer