On Saturday, the Gymnastics team will host the ECAC championships and attempt to continue its strong performances. The ECAC will consist of defending champion Towson as well as Penn, Brown, Yale, Rhode Island, Temple, William & Mary and James Madison.
“We’re hosting ECACs and that’s going to be a really big match for us,” said senior co-captain Kari Kucera.
Although the Red has had success against many of its ECAC opponents this season, Towson, Penn and Rhode Island have given it some trouble. The squad finished second at the Towson Invitational, where it lost to the host team but finished ahead of Penn, Temple and James Madison, who will all be attending the ECAC championship. The squad also lost to Rhode Island when it traveled there during the second match of the season. The Red has been neck-and-neck with Ivy League opponent Penn all season, creating a tight matchup this weekend. Cornell defeated Penn at the Towson Invitational but lost to the Quakers at the Ivy Classic, where Penn was the host team. The Red lost to Penn in its most recent match in Philadelphia. But now, Cornell has the home-court advantage, as it are the hosts this weekend.
Freshman Amanda Chirlin had career-best numbers in the beam competition during last week’s loss to Penn, and she will be a key contributor during the ECAC championship. The Red finished fourth in the event last season, but this year the Red has shown that it can improve over last season’s very strong results.
At the beginning of the season senior co-captain Kari Kucera set a goal.
“We really want to break 190 before Nationals”.
The team didn’t break 190 until Nationals last season, but this year it has already broke the benchmark three times.
The ECACs are the start of the postseason for the Red this year after a very strong regular season. Kucera and senior co-captain Ashley Stewart are the two captains of the team and will have to lead the squad to an even better performance then last year. The team has its eyes on Towson, the defending champion, but also wants to get revenge against Penn for ending its regular season with a loss.
For most of the season, the Red has been somewhat affected by injuries. Most recently junior Colleen Davis, who is one of the strongest members of the team, was sidelined during the Penn match last week and the team hopes to get her back. The team was also without freshman Erin Brosy. They were able to get junior Megan Gilbert back after she was injured and she has aided the squad.
Even though the Red was disappointed after its loss to Penn, the players still remain optimistic about its postseason.
“Our goals are still to win ECACs and Nationals,” said sophomore Stacey O’Hara.