March 1, 2010

Gymnastics Completes Ivy Title Three-Peat

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Winning one title is sweet, and a repeat is pretty baller, too. But everyone knows that you ain’t no MJ or Kobe until you can put together the Three-Peat. And I’m not talking about the basketball team. This weekend, the gymnastics squad won its third straight Ivy Classic title, outperforming Brown, Penn and Yale to remain atop the Ancient Eight’s gymnastics foursome.

While the NCAA only recognizes championships for conferences with at least five teams, the Ivy League still considers the Classic it’s measure of who’s who on the tumbling mats.

“We do –– definitely,” junior captain Maddie Pearsal said when asked if the team still considered this a championship. “It’s as many Ivies as we have, and if we had just one more it’d be officially a league. It’s still the classic, and it’s still our championships.”

With the title on the line, Cornell excelled in all facets of the game, putting together a season-high 192.500 –– nearly three points better than runner up Brown (189.675). Penn finished just .125 points behind the Bears, while Yale rounded out the meet with a 187.500.

“I wouldn’t call it any less of a deal [than the ECAC and National championships], it’s just a different situation. When we go to ECACs some are scholarship programs, and it’s a bigger meet. But when it’s all Ivy League teams, it’s different, it’s special.”

While unable to repeat the previous week’s sweep of individual gold medals in all four events, the Red came away with the highest team score in each apparatus to show off the depth of its roster.

“I think it was just a matter of everyone coming together and having a great meet,” Pearsall said, “Not that last weekend wasn’t great, but at Brown everyone did what they needed, and the depth came out. We showed lots of consistency throughout the team.”

Sophomore Bethany Neczypor won the bars for the second straight weekend with a 9.675, rounding out Cornell’s list of top-finishers. Senior captain Molly Parker finished fourth in the event, helping the Red to a 47.900.

Sophomore Melanie Standridge took second in the beam with a 9.725, and was joined on the podium by senior Brittany Howse (9.700). Junior Kim O’Donnell added a fifth place finish to help Cornell to a 48.050 in the apparatus.

Cornell got two scores of at least 9.8 in the floor portion to score a meet-high 48.650. Santoro (9.850) added a second place to her win in the vault, followed by third-place finisher Pearsall (9.825) and fourth-place finisher Howse (9.775). Senior Emily Lenk finished right behind her teammate Howse, in sixth-place with a 9.650.

“We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing and focus on the little things,” Pearsall said. “Everyone has their routines now, so we are focusing on details. That’s where scores will jump up.”

With the depth the Red has benefited from all season, it’s no surprise that the Red employs specialists to do each event, going for the highest overall team score possible.

“As the season goes on, things settle down a bit,” Pearsall said. “But what’s nice is that we have depth in several events. Some girls are pretty much locked in the lineup, but some girls are competing for spots. That competition keeps us focused.”

Original Author: John Forman