In just two hours time, the five gymnastics teams at the Big Red Invitational amassed a cumulative point total of 930. After the chalk had cleared and 80 individual performances completed, the top-2 teams, Towson and Cornell, were separated by only a fraction of a point.
The Towson Tigers edged Cornell 189.700-189.075 to win its fifth Big Red Invitational in as many years. Despite coming up just short, the Red continued its improvement by posting its highest score of the season.
SUNY Brockport finished third, while Ithaca College and Bridgeport University came in fourth and fifth, respectively.
[img_assist|nid=21294|title=Reflexes like a cat|desc=Junior Megan Gilbert balances in Cornell’s 187.375-184.550 win over Cortland St., Feb. 3.|link=none|align=left|width=73|height=100]
“We had a rough start on the vault but from there on out, we hit every routine,” said sophomore Stacey O’Hara.
Towson’s Christian Ghani took first place in the vault exercise, as the Red stumbled out of the gate.
Junior Colleen Davis and Freshman Molly Parker were the only members of the Red to place in the top-5 of the vault and bar exercises.
“The girls rallied and did what they needed to do,” said assistant Coach Melanie Dilliplane.
“[Senior captain] Kari [Kucera] was the first up on the beam and ended up with one of her highest scores ever. She really set the tone for the rest of the girls in the mentally-hardest event.”
O’Hara literally matched the senior captain’s performance with her score of 9.750. She posted career bests in each event she competed in and won a first-place medal for the first time as a member of the Red.
Freshman Amanda Chirlin and Junior Megan Gilbert helped the Red sweep the top-4 positions in the beam exercises.
The ECAC-leading Tigers needed Jackie Schweitzer, Christina Ghani, and Stacie Hogan to claim the top-3 spots of the floor exercises in order to hold off the Red.
Freshman Emily Lenk was the only member of the Red to score in the top-5 of the floor exercises with a 9.625.
“We had a fantastic day and achieved our goal of staying close to Towson,” Dilliplane said.
Even though the Red hasn’t won its Invitational lately, the squad’s point total has increased every year since Kucera was a freshman.
“This was my best Big Red Invitational ever,” Kucera said.
“We want to start peaking these next few weeks with Ivies coming up.”