February 8, 2008

Red Hosts Four-Team Big Red Invitational

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he gymnastics team got its first feel for home competition last weekend, and it suited the team well, as the squad routed Penn at Teagle Hall. This weekend, the Red will get to taste the home advantage, as it hosts the Big Red Invitational tomorrow at 1 p.m.
The players said that the meet against Penn gave the Red a good sense of what to expect this weekend.
“It is more comfortable competing at home and it’s more fun,” said senior co-captain Megan Gilbert. “So we can use that to our advantage for our meet this weekend.”
Gilbert explained that the team really enjoyed having the home fans’ support, and that it gave the competitors more energy, which showed itself in the final results.
“It makes the team want to do better as a whole,” she said. “We usually know that the whole audience is cheering for us, so it helps motivate us.”
Sophomore Brittany Howse also acknowledged the edge that the fans’ support gives the gymnasts while they’re competing.[img_assist|nid=27524|title=Hangin’ around|desc=Sophomore Cindy Shi and the gymnastics team will host Bridgeport, Ithaca College and Towson tomorrow.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“We definitely feed off of it,” Howse said. “We try to encourage the crowd to come in and cheer, especially during floor routines and that really pumps the girls up. You get energy from the crowd and it’s just a really positive atmosphere. If somebody gets down or if somebody misses something, the crowd does a great job of bringing the spirit back up to a level that people enjoy competing at.”
The Big Red Invitational is a four-team competition, including teams from Bridgeport, Ithaca College and Towson. Gilbert noted that multiple-team meets do differ significantly from dual meets, but thinks the gymnasts are prepared for a crazy atmosphere in Teagle tomorrow.
“There is more going on in the gym as a whole,” Gilbert said. “While we are doing each event, there is someone on all the other events, so it is really busy in the gym and it makes more exciting,” Gilbert explained. “It does make it harder to focus, but we really work on paying attention to only our team and not watching other people.”
While the energy in Teagle last Saturday helped propel Cornell to a 189.750-183.825 rout of the Quakers, the Red continues to work hard in practice. Howse explained that head coach Paul Beckwith wants the team to focus on details in form heading into this weekend.
“[Beckwith] sat down and had a talk with us basically congratulating us on having a great meet last weekend and being so consistent,” Howse said. “We didn’t count any falls last week which was great, especially so early in the year.”
Howse also noted the tough competition that the Red will be facing this weekend. In particular, Howse and Gilbert both pointed to Towson — a team that Cornell has never beaten — as a consistent threat that has been performing particularly well this year.
Towson comes into this weekend after a fourth-place finish at the competitive Governor’s Cup that saw all of the teams score over 190. The Tigers are 2-1 in dual competitions, including a win over Penn.
“Towson is actually doing pretty well,” Howse said. “We competed against them last year. Their average, I think, is around a 191.5. We definitely have the capability to hit that number if we are consistent. … We are going to have to put up a good fight.”
The Red expects it will take solid performances in all four events tomorrow to be able to compete against Towson.
“This weekend we’re going out for perfection — we’re trying to hit our hand-stands on bar routine, no wobbles on beam, stuck landings on vault — stuff like that,” Howse said. “We have worked really hard on being consistent on the beam. We stayed on last weekend which was great, but we need to perfect form and wobbles so that we can get those extra tenths and win in the end.”