January 31, 2011

Gymnastics Aims for National Championship

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Despite all the hype surrounding the men’s and women’s hockey programs and the No. 2 ranked wrestling team, Cornell has another team with national championship aspirations. The gymnastics team continued its strong start to the season with a dominating victory over visiting Cortland, 189.950-180.225. Although this was the squad’s lowest scoring meet of the year, it was by no means a disappointment.“I know the score was a little bit lower, but it was out of our hands in the sense that judges vary a bit from week to week,” said senior tri-captain Maddie Pearsall. “Looking strictly at performance, we’re really happy with this week and how it’s been going.”Sophomore McKenna Archer echoed Pearsall’s optimism about the team’s excellent start.“It’s really great, the team as a whole is really solid and cohesive. … I’m really happy with how we’re doing so far and I hope that we keep it up,” Archer said.Cornell won all four events as a team and also earned the top score individually in each event. Archer led the team on the vault with a score of 9.625, while sophomore Sarah Hein scored a 9.575, tying Cortland’s Sarah Nadrowski for second place in the event.The Red’s strongest event was the bars, where it earned the top six individual scores. Each Cornell gymnast scored at least a 9.300, led by freshman Lexi Schupp, who scored a 9.675 on her routine. Cortland struggled mightily on the bars, earning a team score of 40.950, compared to the Red’s 47.750. No one from Cortland scored higher than an 8.750.On the beam, the Red scored four of the six highest individual scores. A week after earning the top beam score at the Brockport Invitational with a 9.675, junior Melanie Standridge won the event again, this time scoring a 9.725. As a team, Cornell earned a score of 47.275 on the beam.On floor, the Red received the top four individual scores, with Pearsall earning first place for a 9.675 score. The team displayed great consistency in its floor routines, as all six gymnasts finished with a 9.275 or better. As a team Cornell compiled a total score of 47.525.Despite the recent success, the team remains humble and refuses to look too far ahead.“As a team … we’re improving week after week, but it’s still really early in the season,” Archer explained. “Obviously, our goal is to win the national championship, but we’ve only had three weeks and we have ten weeks left, so you never know.” After the victory, the gymnasts continued to emphasize that there is still a lot of work left to do as the team continues to strive for a national championship. “There’s still plenty of room for us to improve, [but] if we keep getting better week after week, then … there’s no reason we can’t [win the championship] at the end of the season,” Pearsall said.

Original Author: Albert Liao