March 7, 2005

Gymnasts Place Third Out of Four At Rutgers

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The women’s gymnastics team finished in third place on Saturday during competition against three other squads, with a total score of 187.775. Host Rutgers was narrowly defeated by Eastern Michigan 191.300-191.200, while Ursinus finished fourth with a score of 184.650. Overall, head coach Paul Beckwith felt the team put in a good day except for some trouble on the uneven bars.

The Red started the meet in high spirits with solid performances on the floor exercise. However, to combat scoring inflation, judges often give lower scores to the first routines in a meet. Therefore, according to Beckwith, the Red’s scores did not fully reflect its performance.

“We started on floor, so I think we kind of got shafted; especially our first three girls,” said sophomore Kari Kucera, who contributed a 9.575 to the overall team score with her floor routine.

Freshman Megan Gilbert also contributed greatly to the team total, recording three of Cornell’s top scores of the day. Individually, she tied for second on the balance beam with a 9.650, finished fourth on vault with a 9.475, and 11th on the floor exercise with a 9.600. Junior Cathy Schnell’s performance on bars earned her a 9.625 and fifth place in the event.

After a stellar performance on bars last meet at the Ivy Classic, Cornell was a bit disappointed by the event which was its weakest this weekend.

“Bars was a little rough,” said Kucera, “Bars has been really up and down this year.”

Both Beckwith and Kucera did not attribute the trouble on bars to lack of skill, but rather to anxiety and the Red’s team dynamic.

“If we’re doing really well they feed off each other, but if it takes a down turn the same thing tends to happen,” Beckwith said.

“I think when you’re this close as a team and something happens to one person it affects the others,” Kucera said. The Red will try to regroup this week during practice, as it gets ready for its upcoming home meet against rival Temple this weekend. The squad will be especially focused on achieving consistency in the uneven bars competition.

Cornell and Temple have a history of competitive meets, with many meets being won by just one tenth of a point or less. Beckwith feels the Red will be in position to earn a victory if the girls can turn out a better performance on bars.

Thus far this season, the Red has stayed relatively healthy. However, freshman Madison Kuker is still out with an ankle injury and sophomore Randi Bisbano is unable to practice bars.

“That’s the key. If we can stay healthy it’s a mental game from there,” Beckwith said, “I think if we can improve bars, we can take Temple.”

Archived article by Jessica Franko
Sun Contributor