March 14, 2008

Red Gets a Break Before Quad Meet

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The ECAC cham­pionships are fast approaching for the gymnastics team, which is currently sitting in second place in the ECAC. But first, the squad travels to Pennsylvania to close out the regular season with a quad meet against Pittsburgh, Temple and North Carolina. But before it competes in its last regular season meet, the team is going to enjoy some well-deserved time off.
“I think everybody is looking forward to getting some time off and relaxing before the biggest part of our season,” said freshman Irene Leung, who led the team in points before an Achilles tendon injury last month sidelined her for the season. “It will definitely benefit everybody to go into the last month refreshed.”
While the team’s approach for a quad meet is no different than for a dual competition, many players do admit that the atmosphere can be more intense.
“In terms of training, we approach everything the same way as we normally would,” said freshman Maddie Pearsall, the only member of the squad to compete in all four events. “But it’s definitely different when you’re there. There are a lot more people. More is going on as someone is competing in each event at all times. It’s generally more exciting.”
In its most recent meet, the Red struggled on the beam, as it was the only event that Cornell lost in the team’s 190.375-189.125 victory against Temple. Pearsall acknowledged that the Red gymnasts are focusing extra hard on improving their performance on the beam.
“This week, we’re really pulling for beam,” she said. “At our last meet, it was our weakest event. We kind of want to redeem ourselves, but overall, we approach everything with the same routine.”
While Cornell defeated Temple on three different occasions this season and has not yet faced Pittsburgh, the Red finished behind the Tar Heels at the George Washington Invitational back on Jan. 20. The team is clearly eager to get a second shot.
“Since January, the whole team has become more confident and proven that we can compete with nationally ranked teams,” said freshman Emily Santoro. “If we can all go out there and hit all our routines, we definitely have a chance to beat North Carolina.”
Another aspect of the competition in Pittsburgh that the team is excited for is the fact that all 25 members are allowed to travel with the team. Normally, Ivy League rules prohibit more than 16 players from traveling to road meets, but because classes will not be in session the entire team is allowed to attend.
“It will be great to have everybody there,” Pearsall said. “It’s always hard to leave your teammates behind.”