February 16, 2007

Gymnastics Faces Towson on Road

Print More

Past matchups between Cornell and Towson have always played out like a classic sibling rivalry. Cornell — the younger sibling — improves each year, but its performance is always bested by the older sibling, Towson. The Red will travel to the Towson Invitational tomorrow and once again attempt to step out of Towson’s shadow.

Since the inception of the gymnastics program at Cornell, the Red has never beaten the Tigers. Currently ranked No. 1 in the ECAC, Towson has dominated the league nearly every season, including play at the Big Red Invitational, which it has won five times. However, the Red came within a point of toppling the perennial giant last weekend.

“We know what we can score and we know they can score pretty dang high,” said head coach Paul Beckwith. “As last weekend’s performance indicated, we can compete with Towson.”

Towson has eight players on scholarship, while Cornell has none.

ECAC heavyweights Temple and Penn will also challenge the Red this weekend in Baltimore. Penn, Temple and Cornell all scored a 189 last weekend in different meets.

“The expected high level of competition should get us ready for postseason play,” Beckwith said.

The Red will not be at full strength this weekend, as two of its top performers suffered injuries this week in practice. Sophomore Stacey O’Hara, who was named ECAC Specialist of the Week after posting career bests at the Big Red Invitational, sprained her ankle on Tuesday. Also, junior Megan Gilbert, a three-event competitor, is on crutches due to a toe injury.

“With the loss of Megan and Stacey, we’ll need to call on people in all areas,” Beckwith said. “We were set back by the weather on Wednesday and won’t be able to set a lineup until at least Thursday night.”

Freshman Erin Brosy is among the nine newcomers who will be called on this weekend to replace the injured veterans.

“The freshmen are starting to get used to the atmosphere at the collegiate level,” Brosy said.

The rookies have not only added depth, but rookies Emily Lenk and Molly Parker have consistently scored among the top positions for the Red. Lenk is coming off a solid performance in the floor exercises last weekend, where she finished with a 9.625. The Red will also rely on senior All-American Kari Kucera to perform in both the beam and floor exercises.

“The team is definitely on an upward slope,” Brosy said. “We got off to a rocky start, but the last three meets have been really successful.”