February 5, 2007

Gymnastics Wins First Meet

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The gymnastics team returned to Ithaca this weekend for the first time since its cinderella run at the national title last spring.

With the nine-month layoff behind them, the Red picked up right where it left off, beating Cortland St. 187.27-183.2 on Saturday.
[img_assist|nid=21136|title=Flex|desc=Freshman Molly Parker performs in the Red’s 187.27-183.2 win over Cortland St. on Saturday.|link=none|align=left|width=68|height=100]

Cornell’s only stumble came during the pre-match formalities. With the teams lined up and the fans on their feet, the sound system failed to produce Francis Scott Key’s old ballad. After approximately 90 seconds of awkward silence, the gymnasts ignited a patriotic sing-a-long. The Red would stay in control from there on out.

With “Danger Zone” from Top Gun playing throughout the opening vault exercise, the Red immediately distanced itself from the Red Dragons. Junior Colleen Davis and freshman Brittany Howse led the way with scores of 9.625 and 9.600, respectively.

“I was very happy with my vault score.” Howse said. “The difference between the two teams was that we hit all our sets.”

By hitting its sets — meaning to complete an exercise without falling — the Red was able to pull out an early lead.

The second event, bar exercises, was the only event that the Red did not win. Sophomore Jennifer Yee’s led all competitors with a score of 9.575 but it was not enough to overcome the Red Dragons.

After the vault and bars, Cornell only led Cortland by 1.10 points, but was able to extend its lead in the beam exercises.

Even though Brittany Wiesne of Cortland posted the best beam score, the Red claimed three of the top-5 finishes to win the event. Junior Megan Gilbert and Yee led the way by earning scores of 9.425 and 9.275.

“Our whole beam team had five less falls than last week,” said coach Paul Beckwith.

Senior Kari Kucera had the Red’s highest score in both the beam and floor exercises scoring a 9.425 on the beam, while her graceful landings in the floor exercise led to a 9.675.

Gilbert and junior Leslie Gregory finished the floor exercise in second and third place, respectively with scores of 9.625 and 9.550.

“It was a great experience for the freshman,” Howse said. “A lot of us got a chance to compete and have a fun time.”

The Red was able to let two extra athletes compete in each event, since it was the first home meet of the season. This exhibition opportunity allowed many of the Red gymnasts to compete for the first time all year.

“Every score has been higher than the previous one, which tells me we are headed in the right direction.” said Beckwith. “Hopefully, this trend will continue and we will peak in the postseason.”