March 5, 2007

Gymnastics Lose by Narrow Margin to Scarlet Knights

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Rutgers’ gymnastics continued its regular season dominance of Cornell this past Saturday, as it held off the Red, 192.575-190.350. Going into the match, the Red was 0 for 15 all-time against the Scarlet Knights. Despite the loss, the Red surpassed 190 for just the second time this season and improved its credentials for ECAC and national tournament qualifying.

The decisive two-point margin of victory does not indicate how close the meet was. The Red held the advantage after three competitions with only the beam exercise left to compete in. The beam squad’s mistakes were magnified, as three falls led to an overall 1.5 point deduction. Although senior Kari Kucera claimed a share of first place with a score of 9.7, it was not enough to overcome the setbacks.
[img_assist|nid=21871|title=Down you go|desc=The women’s gymnastics team lost to Rutgers for the 16th straight time by a score of 192.575-190.350.|link=none|align=left|width=64|height=100]
“Those three falls were a significant reason for our loss.” said sophomore Stacey O’Hara. “Rutgers flawlessly completed all its routines, especially in floor.”

Rutgers excelled in the floor competition, as senior Beth Fittery took the top spot on senior day. Classmates Kelly Straka and Lorena Johnson helped Fittery sweep the event and, subsequently, pull ahead of the Red for good.

The Red got off to a hot start with season high scores in the vault and bars competition. Junior Colleen Davis’ phenomenal 9.75 performance on the vault was enough for her to earn the top spot in the meet, while sophomore Sari Pepper placed fourth in the vault. Johnson and Latara Northcutt of Rutgers placed second and third, respectively.

Sophomore Elyse Gottschalk provided the Red with another bright spot and finished second on the bars. Junior Leslie Gregory and freshman Molly Parker also contributed to the Red’s best effort on bars thus far this season.

Rutgers essentially tied the Red in the bars competition with a score of 48.65. Junior Stephanie Pannick claimed first place with a score of 9.7.

“We knew this match would be tough and the bar and vault squads really did a good job to keep us in the lead.” O’Hara said. “This week we will work on confidence, consistency, and making our routines.”

Even though the Red hasn’t won since Feb. 3 in a home meet against Cortland State, it continues to improve its point average. Since the beginning of the season, the Red has bolstered its average by an impressive five-point margin. A high point average is critical going into the last part of the season, as it determines seeding for the national tournament.