April 17, 2008

Red Enters Final Stretch of the Year

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The gymnastics team closes out its season this weekend when it competes in the USAG National championships along with seven other schools in Shreveport, La.
After a three-week layoff from its last competition at the ECAC championships, the Red is ready to finish off its season strong.
“We’re all really excited,” said freshman Maddie Pearsall, who placed 12th while representing the Red as an individual at the NCAA Northeast Regionals last weekend. “We had a really good practice today, we’re getting pumped. We really feel ready to go.”
[img_assist|nid=29950|title=Touch your toes|desc=Kerri Lavallee and the other freshmen gymnasts will follow the advice of the Cornell veterans at Nationals today.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
While indicating that the team does feel a bit of anxiousness, freshman Kerri Lavallee echoed Pearsall’s feeling of excitement.
“We’re a little nervous because it’s such a big competition,” Lavallee said while on the bus back to the team hotel. “But we’re on our way back from practice now and we feel great. Everything went really well today. Everyone looked great and felt confident. We were practicing next to the other teams and we were just as good as everybody else.”
For some, a three-week layoff before the biggest event of a season could be a cause for concern, but the gymnasts are not worried about it having any negative bearing on their performance. Instead, they feel the extended break was just what they needed to get themselves ready.
“We’re used to competing with breaks anyway,” Lavallee said. “But it was good to get a long break to work on specific things. It allowed us to work on specific skills rather than just going through our normal routines. We were really able to perfect everything. Plus, it was good for our bodies which are hurting at this point in the season. Now we’re all ready to go.”
The competition is four days long, with a total of eight teams competing. The event begins today, with two separate compete in each session.
The top-2 teams from each session today will move on to compete for the title tomorrow. The top-8 individual scorers from each event will move on to compete for the individual championships on Saturday.
For the freshmen on the team, it is an entirely new experience. The upperclassmen, however, have been here before. Their advice to the freshmen has been simple and quite clear.
“They just tell us to enjoy it,” Pearsall said. “It’s our last shot of the season to prove ourselves. Just give it everything you have.”