February 19, 2007

Gymnasts Place Second at Invite

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This weekend, the gymnastics team had its best meet of the season, posting a season-best score of 189.575 and a second-place finish at the highly competitive Towson Invitational.

“It was our highest score of the season,” said senior co-captain Kari Kucera. “I was really happy with the way we finished.”

The host team was victorious at the Shelli Calloway Memorial Towson Invitational and the Red finished second, beating Penn and Temple, who are two of the strongest teams in the ECAC. Towson is the No. 1-ranked gymnastics team in the ECAC, but Cornell has been closing the gap lately and its second-place finish this weekend shows that it has been getting even better.

Towson had a team score of 193.500 while the Red finished with 189.575. Penn, Temple and Ursinus rounded out the top-5 with 187.7, 186.825 and 186.775 respectively.

The Red has been hurt lately due to injuries. However, the team was still able to pull off a strong second-place showing.

Sophomore Stacey O’Hara was able to place second in the balance beam despite being injured last week and not being able to compete in the floor exercise competition, which is one of her normal events. Junior Megan Gilbert, who normally competes in three events, was also injured.

O’Hara was Cornell’s best individual finisher in the balance beam event with a score of 9.725 and a second-place finish.

Freshman Amanda Chirlin was right behind her with a third-place finish and a 9.625 score while classmate Brittany Howse finished in sixth with a 9.55.

Junior Colleen Davis finished fourth in the Vault competition with a score of 9.700 while sophomore Sari Tepper scored a 9.650 and finished fifth in the Floor Exercise.

“Sometimes we have one good event and then one bad event,” Kucera said. “So if we are more consistent then I think our team can do even better.”

After finishing third at Nationals last season, the Red has proven to be the best non-scholarship team in the country and now looks to improve even more this season.

“Our goal is to hit 190 before nationals this season” Kucera said. “The Ivies are next weekend, so hopefully we can get 190 there.”

Cornell knows that it will have to work on its consistency and hopefully get some of its injured players back up to full strength so it can compete at its highest level and hopefully achieve its goal of a score of 190. The team was already close to that number after scoring a 189.575 despite losing some of its key gymnasts.