February 1, 2008

Gymnasts Shoot to Sustain Momentum

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Going into the first home meet of the season, the gymnastics team is looking to build on the momentum it gained last weekend. After beating SUNY Cortland by an overall score of 185.150-183.500 last Sunday in Cortland, N. Y., Cornell will play host to Penn this Saturday at noon in Teagle Hall for a dual meet.
The meet will be the first opportunity of the season to compete in front of a home crowd. For the freshmen, it will mark the first home competition of their NCAA careers. Freshman gymnast and vault competitor Emily Santoro is expecting an electrifying atmosphere in the gym on Saturday.
“We are really looking forward to be able to compete in our own gym, in front of our own fans,” Santoro said. “Everyone always says that competing at home is more fun and exciting, so I’m looking forward to experiencing that myself.”
Santoro noted that there are other advantages that come with competing at home. Having familiarity with the home equipment and not having to travel are certainly pleasant prospects.[img_assist|nid=27167|title=Touch your toes|desc=The gymnastics team will take on Penn tomorrow in Teagle Hall.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
This meet stands as the third competition for the Red this season. With the victory at Cortland and a fourth-place finish at the George Washington Invitational in the books, the gymnasts now feel much more comfortable heading into competitions. In practice, the team has been focusing on details in their form that they hope will enable them to score higher. Santoro notes that the first couple of meets offered some beneficial lessons that the team hopes to employ in the future.
“We’ve learned that it is important to stay positive even when we make mistakes and that we need to continue to try hard,” Santoro said.
“We have learned [from the first two meets] that nerves are not a good thing. We need to forget about them and have fun,” said freshman Irene Leung, who is also a Sun staff member.
Cornell faces a struggling Penn squad, which has racked up three losses in only three meets thus far. The Quakers kicked off their season with a home loss to Rutgers on Jan. 12. The next week, Penn hosted Towson and suffered another defeat. The Quakers’ woes continued last week, as they travelled to New Haven to face off against Yale. Yale was victorious by a final score of 188.575-183.75.
Although Penn has yet to record its first victory of the season, there have been some positives for the Quaker gymnasts, and Cornell knows it will not be able to take them lightly. Penn sophomore Marissa Rosen was selected as ECAC Gymnast of the Week for her performance against Rutgers, while Penn junior Kerri Lutfey was named ECAC Specialist of the Week for her performance in that same meet.
Against Rutgers, Rosen won three individual events: bars, beam and floor. Her overall score also tied for the fifth highest All-Around score in Penn history.
The Red is looking to focus on its own performance and know that they must bring its best tomorrow in order to be victorious.
Leung, Cornell’s all-around competitor, recognizes that the competition this weekend will be intense but hopes that Cornell’s deep talent will be able to bring them out on top.
“The upper classmen have informed me that Penn is our biggest rival,” Leung said. “While they do have a very good all-arounder, we think that we have more depth. So hopefully we will be able to win.”