For the first time since winning the National Championship last year, Cornell gymnastics is back on top with its first out-right winning weekend of the season. Despite having placed ahead of several teams in larger meets, Cornell hasn’t been “first” until beating out Cortland in a dual-meet on Saturday, 189.625-182.875.
After earning a lower team score each meet since the season opener at Maryland, the Red turned its season around by improving on its score from the previous match. Saturday’s 189.625 followed a season-low performance of 185.750 at Penn State.
“It was a really exciting win because after a poor performance the weekend before, we were able to turn around our attitude and our work ethic in the gym, and it showed this weekend,” Parker said.
It showed not only improvement, but also that the team has reached a new pinnacle, earning a season-high score. The team’s previous high score, 189.275, came in the season opener at Maryland.
Entering no all-around competitors, Cornell swept all of its events with four individual winners. The Red also grabbed second place in all four events.
Setting the bar for Cornell was sophomore Melanie Standridge with a 9.85 to win the balance beam event. Junior Kim O’Donnell finished second with a 9.50.
Junior Emily Santoro took first in vault with 9.725, while rookie McKenna Archer’s 9.675 earned second.
The Red swept the podium in the uneven bars, led by junior captain Maddie Pearsall’s 9.625 and complemented by classmate’s Gabriella Sanguineti’s 9.55 and sophomore Bethany Neczypor’s 9.50.
For the floor exercise, as Santoro (9.65) tied for second behind senior Brittany Howse’s 9.725. Santoro was the only gymnast for Cornell to take home a top-3 spot in two separate events.
“Because we have a larger team with a lot of depth, we don’t have to rely on one person to keep the team together,” Parker said, regarding the lack of all-around competitors. “Most people only compete in one or two events. It really is a team effort.”
After finishing off its fourth meet in two weeks facing 15 teams, the Red will have a long-awaited two-week break until the Big Red Invitation on Feb. 13 at Teagle Gymnasium.
“This time off is much needed with a lot of injuries,” Parker said. “We get time to rest up and get healthy, and we’re really excited to compete at home and show everyone what we’ve got. The team’s better than ever, and our start to the season didn’t really show that. We’re excited to rest up and show it at home.”
Original Author: John Forman