April 18, 2005

Gymnasts Place Sixth In USAG Nationals

Print More

Instead of hockey pucks flying around Lynah Rink this weekend, gymnasts soared through the air as the normally ice-filled rink served as warmup gym for the 2005 Men’s and Women’s Collegiate National Championships.

Rutgers took the women’s team title during Friday’s competition with a score of 193.025. The Scarlet Knights were followed by Texas Women’s, UC Davis, and Seattle Pacific.

“We won, and it was really unexpected because this was our first time at nationals,” said Rutgers gymnast Nicci Bradder.

On the men’s side, William & Mary won its 10th title in the past 12 years, beating runner up Navy by over three points with a score of 211.475.

After finishing sixth in the preliminary competition Thursday night in front of nearly 1,500 spectators, and just short of qualifying for team finals the following day, Cornell still saw three competitors advance to the individual finals on Saturday.

Qualifying eighth Thursday evening with a score of 9.725 for a spot in the individual competition, junior Cathy Schnell’s bar routine Saturday earned a score of 9.550 for a sixth place finish on the uneven bars. Brisa Fuentes of Texas Women’s University and Debra Huss of Seattle Pacific tied for first on the event with scores of 9.750.

Cornell sophomore Randi Bisbano and freshman Megan Gilbert each posted scores of 9.700 to go on to represent Cornell in the finals on balance beam. Bisbano, who took third in last year’s individual beam and uneven bars finals, stuck her routine to finish fifth this year with a score of 9.550. Gilbert’s effort on the beam earned her a 9.625 to tie with Alaska-Anchorage’s Jamie Burton for fourth place.

“I’m really excited,” Gilbert said. “This was one of my best meets.”

The women’s individual champion on balance beam was Tiffany Chan of UC-Davis with a 9.775.

Seattle Pacific’s Kari Kelly took home the title on the vault with a 9.712, and teammate Debra Huss tied with Chan for the championship on floor exercise with scores of 9.850.

Patrick Shea, a sophomore from the University of Arizona ended the meet with a big smile on his face and medal around his neck, as his teammates dusted him off with a feather duster. Shea earned third on the vault with a 9.150.

When asked how the meet went, all he could say was “It was great.”

The general consensus from the Cornell gymnastics team was that the meet was overall a great success.

“We did better than anyone thought we would do,” said Cornell freshman Colleen Davis.

“This was the most together our team’s been this year. We didn’t let one fall bring us down,” added junior Shellen Goltz.

The team also credited their coaches for their hard work over the season.

“Putting together this meet has taken all their energy from the year. We would be watching movies on the bus going home from meets and they would be planning for nationals. They haven’t slept in days. But I think this was definitely one of the best run nationals,” Cornell senior Allison Betof said.

Archived article by Jessica Franko
Sun Contributor