April 14, 2009

Gymnastics Wins Nationals

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The gymnastics team concluded its season in the best way possible over the weekend with a win at the USAG Collegiate National Championships in New Haven, Conn. The Red posted a score of 191.675, dead even with Bridgeport to share the title. Throughout the meet the Red knew that it had a shot, but was not sure of the final results until the announcement was made.
“It was crazy,” said sophomore Maddie Pearsall. “Basically throughout the meet we were keeping track of [the] Texas [women] because they won last year so we figured that they were our main concern. We knew that their last event didn’t go very well, and then when they made the announcements they came in fourth. When they finally announced that we had tied Bridgeport for the win, everybody went nuts.”
Senior co-captain Stacey Ohara echoed the same sentiment. [img_assist|nid=36827|title=Starring … Stacey!|desc=Senior co-captain Stacey Ohara won this year’s national title on beam for the Red.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“Everyone was pretty shocked,” Ohara said. “We were standing right next to Bridgeport during the announcements. We just kind of looked at each other in shock, and then when it finally hit everyone we all started screaming. It was crazy, people were crying, it was really overwhelming.”
It was a historic year for the Red from beginning to end, with the team posting record high scores throughout the course of the year. In winning Nationals over the weekend, Cornell became the first ever non-scholarship giving school to win the competition.
Last year, the Red finished second, losing by 1.025 points to Texas Women’s.
“We were so close last year,” Pearsall said. “And we knew that we had a better team this year. Everyone came together and we showed what we can do.”
For the seniors on the team, seeing the progression that the team made over the past four years has meant a lot.
“[Winning nationals] really meant a lot to the seniors,” Ohara said. “Since our freshman year, it was the first time that we had ever qualified for the team finals. Every year we’ve gotten better, and this year it was definitely our goal from the beginning to win … this is a really big achievement for us.”
In addition to the team championship, Ohara became the first-ever USAG National Champion on beam from Cornell, posting a 9.850. Freshman Melanie Standridge placed second in the event with a 9.800.
“I was so excited,” Ohara said. “I was more excited to win the team competition, it was a total team effort that was amazing. To win beam was more than I could ask for; it felt really good. My hard work throughout the year paid off. It was the best routine of my life in my last ever meet, and my family was there so they got to share the moment with me. And as always my team was there supporting me as they’ve done throughout the season.”