Fresh off its highest team score of the year, the Cornell gymnastics team will travel to Philadelphia this weekend to challenge Temple in a dual meet between traditional rivals. Though Cornell has twice defeated Temple earlier this season in neutral settings, the Red has never beaten Temple at the Owls’ home gym, a fact that coach Paul Beckwith was all too willing to discuss.
“I have two goals for this upcoming meet, and obviously, the first is to beat Temple. This would be the first time we’ve ever done that in our history,” Beckwith said. “Also, with almost every meet this entire season, we’ve kept improving our scores each week. Sunday, I expect us to finally get above a 190.”
In its last meet against Rutgers and Eastern Michigan, Cornell posted their highest score of the season – a 189.175 – despite having to count three falls and several routine mishaps for scoring.
“We didn’t score to our potential [last week], but we still did very well,” said senior Cathy Schnell, who earned her best score of the year last weekend with a 9.800 on the bars. “Personally, my major goal is to keep being consistent on the bars, and get some momentum going into the last few meets.”
The upcoming meet at Temple is Cornell’s second-to-last opportunity to perform before the ECAC championships, and another chance to replace one of its lower scores from earlier in the season.
In its first three meets, Cornell failed to reach 182 points. In the five meets since, Cornell has surpassed 187 each time.
“We started this season kind of rough, with a few people sick or injured, but then at our first home meet, we just had a six-point jump [in the team score], and we’ve just kept getting better. It was like that one meet [hosting Brown] was a start to a whole new season,” said sophomore Colleen Davis. “As a team, we’ve just really come together.”
“If we continue improving, and finish the season [averaging] close to 190, then that would make this the best year ever in the history of Cornell gymnastics,” Beckwith said. “Only one other Ivy League team has a 190 this season, and we’ve already had a couple of 189s with some falls and mistakes. We may enter the ECACs with the highest ranking we’ve ever had.”
Individually, the Big Red also has several gymnasts who have distinguished themselves to date.
“We’ve got three gymnasts who have a great chance at qualifying for the NCAA Regionals. The last time we had somebody qualify was in 2001, in the all-around. We’ve never had a specialist qualify, and that could happen this year,” Beckwith said, referring to Schnell in the bars event.
Junior Randi Bisbano and sophomore Megan Gilbert may qualify in the all-around.
When asked to name another teammate who has done an outstanding job without the recognition she deserves, Beckwith, Davis, and Schnell were unanimous in their praise for sophomore Leslie Gregory.
“Leslie Gregory has scored more points for our team than anybody else. She only did two events last year, but this year she does all four. Week in, week out, she’s right in the mix in almost every event,” Beckwith said.
Archived article by Stephen Davis
Sun Staff Writer