April 11, 2008

Freshman Sole Representative for Gymnastics in NCAA Regionals

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Before the gymnastics team travels to Shreveport, La., to compete in the Nationals next weekend, freshman Maddie Pearsall will be representing the Red in the Regionals this weekend at Penn State. She will be the first Cornell gymnast to compete in Regionals since Sonya Negriff ’01 qualified in 1998.
While the team has been preparing for Nationals, Pearsall has her focus set on this weekend. Pearsall will compete in all four events, and will rotate with Brigham Young University. Also competing in the competition will
“I’m so excited,” Pearsall said, who leads the team in scoring this season. “It will be so great to represent Cornell.”
As the team trains to prepare for Nationals, Pearsall has taken it one day at a time, first focusing on this weekend in Pennsylvania. Although she is the only gymnast preparing for this weekend, her training regimen has remained the same. She has done her best to maintain consistency.[img_assist|nid=29752|title=gymastics!|desc=Freshman Maddie Pearsall will represent Cornell at Regionals this weekend. She was the first Cornell gymnast to qualify for regionals since 1998.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“I’ve been training with the team at our regular times,” Pearsall said. “Personally though, I’m working a little bit harder on beam, I’d like to improve that. But I’ve mostly been focusing on all four events equally.”
The most obvious difference between this weekend and past events this season is that Pearsall will be competing on her own. However, she will not be alone in the gym come Saturday.
“It will definitely be different to be alone on the floor, but a lot of the team is coming down with me,” Pearsall said. “Everybody has been so supportive.”
In addition to qualifying for regoinals, Pearsall was named the ECAC Rookie of the Year.
“It’s pretty cool,” Pearsall said. “It’s not something I ever really thought about, but it’s nice to be recognized like that.”
Everybody on the team has recognized Pearsall’s contributions this season and is eager to support her at regoinals.
“She’s a great teammate who works hard everyday,” said freshman Irene Leung. “If anybody deserves to go [to regionals] it’s her.”
While Pearsall has been consumed by her preparation for Regionals, the rest of the team has been focused on the upcoming Nationals. By the time that they arrive in Shreveport, the Red will not have competed in a meet since the ECAC Regionals, three weeks ago. While the team is staying focused, it is also being sure to stay rested and relaxed.
“This weeks we’re focusing on maintaining our skills,” said sophomore Jill Dean. “We’re doing what we need to in the gym, but we’re also taking it easy. The coaches have been giving as a lighter week which is really what we need.”