February 2, 2007

Red Takes on Cortland

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Tomorrow, the Cornell gymnastics team will go toe-to-toe with local rival Cortland State in Teagle Hall. The Red has an opportunity to not only repeat last weekend’s stellar performance against the Red Dragons at the Brown Quad Meet but to also reaffirm Tompkins County bragging rights.

“It’s our first home meet since last year’s third-place finish at Nationals and we want to show our fans what Red gymnastics is all about,” said freshman Molly Parker.
[img_assist|nid=21082|title=Like Mike|desc=The gymnastics team will square off against in-state rival Cortland State tomorrow in Teagle Hall.|link=none|align=left|width=55|height=100]

Cornell’s finish last year was the best ever by a non-scholarship program. The team only graduated one senior, Cathy Snell, whose shoes have been filled by nine freshmen.

“I don’t think many of the freshmen have realized their potential this early in the season, but they instantly added the element of depth to our team,” said head coach Paul Beckwith. “Depth won’t be a problem this year, as it has been in the past.”

The influx of freshmen has upped the level of competition in practice from years past.

“With such a big team, the lineup won’t be concrete for another few weeks,” Beckwith said. “There are usually six girls competing for three spots in each event.”

The Red has already been forced to call upon the newcomers after senior Randi Bisbano suffered a season-ending injury. The five-time All-American ruptured her Achilles tendon over winter break during a routine gymnastics workout.

“Randi was a big loss, but our upper classmen have stepped up to lead the way.” Beckwith said.

Senior captain Kari Kucera and junior Leslie Gregory are two upperclassmen consistently at the top of the leaderboard with scores exceeding 9.5.

According to Beckwith, the team is off to its best start in four or five years, and its current scores resemble last year’s peak performance at Nationals.

“Our team goal right now is to score a 190 or better,” said Beckwith. “We were on pace to break a few school records and score a 191 at Brown, but we were unlucky during the beam event.”

With a strong performance tomorrow, Cornell has the opportunity to bolster its season point total. In collegiate gymnastics, the postseason seeding is based on a team’s average point total, rather than wins and losses.